UKRANE – The journalistic world in mourning. Two journalists, a Fox News Franco-Irish cameraman and a Ukrainian who accompanied him, were killed near Kiev in an attack that also left one injured, the US television channel announced on Tuesday, March 15, citing a “heartbreaking day” for journalists about the war in Ukraine.
Pierre Zakrzewski and Oleksandra Kuvshynova died Monday in Horenka, northwest of the capital, “when their vehicle was shot at,” Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement, adding that they were with reporter Benjamin Hall. , a Brit who usually reports to the State Department and who was injured.
“Sasha was murdered along with Pierre. She was talented, well-intentioned and witty. She loved photography, poetry and music. We quickly became friends through a shared love of coffee. She was 24 years old”tweeted Fox News reporter Trey Yingst.
Fox News, which initially only announced the cameraman’s death on Tuesday, explained that it had postponed announcing the young woman’s “out of respect for her family”.
Pierre Zakrzewski, a “hot adventurer” hero
Pierre Zakrzewski, 55 years old, had dual French-Irish nationality. Based in London, he had handled most of the world’s violent conflicts for over 30 years and had been in Ukraine since February.
“He was a warm adventurer who created great encounters, he was very humble and human and had lost none of his sensitivity over the years,” a member of his family told AFP.
“He wasn’t just filming, he was serving others. Just last week in Kiev he had helped shelter a newborn baby found after a bombing,” this family member added, emphasizing that he “was able to to work at a height of 6000 meters, as under the heat of Africa”, and that he was “the witness of all conflicts in Afghanistan, since the uprising of the mujahideen against the Russian army, until the return of the Taliban”.
Pierre Zakrzewski was rewarded by Fox News in December, in particular for having “played a key role in the evacuation of our Afghan freelancers and their families after the US withdrawal” from the country, Suzanne Scott stressed.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said in a tweet that he was “deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Irish citizen and journalist Pierre Zakrzewski”.
Oleksandra Kuvshynova, courage and talent
Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova was 24 years old. She “was our advisor (…). She helped our teams travel around the city, gathering information and talking to resources,” explains Suzanne Scott. “His dream was to connect people around the world and tell their stories. She has achieved that with journalism,” she paid tribute to him.
According to the CEO of Fox News Media, Oleksandra Kuvshynov had a passion for music, art and photography. “It was a pleasure to work with her,” her team in Ukraine confided. “Several of our correspondents and producers spent long days with her reporting the news and got to know her personally and described her as hardworking, funny, kind and courageous.
The young journalist “had talent, good resources and spirit” and Pierre Zakrzewski was “altruistic, courageous and passionate,” underlined reporter Trey Yingst on Twitter, who had worked with them in Ukraine.
Benjamin Hall still hospitalized in Ukraine
UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay condemned the “murder” of the two Fox News journalists and stressed that the media should “never be the target”.
The International Press Institute, a press freedom organization based in Vienna, called on “military forces to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of journalists”. These are “regarded as civilians under international humanitarian law,” the IPI said in a statement.
“It’s a heartbreaking day for Fox News Media and for all journalists who risk their lives to inform,” lamented Suzanne Scott, specifying that Benjamin Hall remained hospitalized in Ukraine. He was injured in his legs by shrapnel and was placed in intensive care, according to Ukrainian Attorney General Irina Venediktova.
At least five journalists murdered in Ukraine since February 24
At least five journalists, including two foreigners, have been killed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
American Brent Renaud was shot dead on Sunday in the northwestern suburbs of Kiev. Before Oleksandra Kuvshynova, Ukrainian journalist Evgueni Sakoun was killed in the bombing of the TV tower in Kiev and his colleague Viktor Doudar was killed in fighting near Mykolaiv (south), according to Ukrainian authorities who also injured more than 30 among members of the press over the conflict.
On Wednesday, March 16, France recalled “the obligation” for the warring parties in Ukraine to “protect” journalists reporting on the conflict. any action directed at them,” said the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian. “These events illustrate the extreme danger of the current Ukrainian theater,” he added. Journalists reporting on the conflict are contributing to “free and plural information” and to “public debate around the world,” he also emphasized.
The International Press Institute, a Vienna-based press freedom organization, also called on “military forces to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of journalists”.
According to the latest UN count, at least 636 civilians have been killed in Ukraine, proving that this toll is likely much lower than the reality.
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