Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cameraman seriously injured in attack killing two Cdn. soldiers knew risks

Radio-Canada cameraman Charles Dubois (shown) is seriously injured, and reporter Patrice Roy is suffering from shock but otherwise doing fine.
Photo Credit: CP
Covering a war-torn region comes with risk and a Radio-Canada cameraman injured in a roadside bomb that killed two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan knew that when he volunteered for the mission.
Charles Dubois, a 29-year-old cameraman with time served previously in Afghanistan and Iraq, knew the terrain well. He suffered a serious leg injury and was in stable condition at the Kandahar military hospital on Wednesday.
His colleague, Patrice Roy, 44, a senior reporter, was treated for shock.
The armoured vehicle they were travelling in was hit with an improvised explosive device.
Dubois and Roy were just two-weeks into a six-week stint in Afghanistan, where they were covering the Valcartier, Que., based Royal 22nd Regiment as they take over Canadian military operations in Afghanistan.
Both Dubois and Roy, who are based in Ottawa for the network, volunteered for the assignment, and were well-trained, said Sylvain Lafrance, the French-language network's vice-president.
Lafrance said the network was inundated with calls from journalists as rumours swirled about the two injured journalists.
"Today the emotion was very palpable in all Radio-Canada newsrooms across the country, particularly in Montreal and Ottawa," Lafrance said.
Reporters who have covered Afghanistan say there have been numerous close calls as journalists have travelled in convoys hit by bombs, rocket attacks or with troops as they come under enemy fire.
Former Toronto Star journalist Kathleen Kenna was seriously injured in Afghanistan in March 2002 when the car she was riding in with her husband and photographer Bernard Weil was hit by a grenade.
Despite the risks involved, journalists have an important role to play in Afghanistan, Lafrance said.
"It's the role of the CBC (English and French) to cover those international conflicts, especially when Canada is a part of the conflict," Lafrance said.
"So it's our role to be there and we will continue to be there."
Roy was providing reports to Radio-Canada for its website, television, radio and a blog. Lafrance says Roy will decide in the next day or so whether he will stay in Afghanistan on assignment.
Radio-Canada is also trying to determine whether to send popular anchorman Bernard Derome to Afghanistan on Thursday, where he is scheduled to broadcast live in September.
"We'll talk about it as a team and come to a decision," said Alain Saulnier, general manager of information at Radio-Canada.
"We tell people if ever they have doubts or they want to pull out at the last minute, we'll respect that decision. We'll take the same approach this time."
Saulnier says the decision to embed troops with soldiers is made on a case-by-case basis and Lafrance added its possible the network will change its approach to reporting in Afghanistan.
"We took a decision at one point to no longer send teams to Iraq when we had people there at the beginning of the war," said Lafrance. "In each case, we take that decision with an understanding of the situation and we'll re-evaluate when necessary."

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