Friday, July 18, 2008

The Media under Fire

No reporter was named for this article on the BBC NEWS Web site. Thus, there probably was not a BBC reporter on site at the time of this incident:

Three Chinese reporters attending a police briefing on the success of an anti-gun campaign were accidentally shot, media reports say.

An officer picked up one of the weapons on show - a confiscated home-made gun - but it went off in his hand.

A reporter needed surgery for injuries to his ankle, crotch and chest, after being hit by what appeared to be pebbles fired by the gun.

Two others were slightly injured in the incident in Nanchong, southern China.

There is, however, an eyewitness account (of sorts):

"Journalists from 13 media outlets were led to a hall on the second floor after attending the meeting on the 12th floor,'' one woman called Lin told the newspaper.

"One officer picked up a confiscated pistol and demonstrated it to the journalists.''

Lin said she heard a bang and saw West China City Daily reporter Su Dingwei collapse.

"White smoke was rising in the room and crushed stone-like things were scattered all around,'' she was quoted as saying.

There are any number of accounts of reporters who have come under fire (probably both enemy and "friendly") in the course of war coverage; but this may well be the first account of a reporter who was a victim of "friendly fire" at the hands of a municipal police force.

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