Taliban takeover: Charlotte Bellis faces perils outside ‘enemy territory’

  • Gavin Ellis Media consultant and researcher
Keywords: Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, AlJazeera, credibility, foreign correspondence, gender, human rights, Iraq, New Zealand, Taliban, truth-telling, war correspondence


Commentary: New Zealand-born Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Peter Arnett was one of a handful of journalists allowed to stay in Baghdad as the American offensive against Iraq began in 1991. Reporting first from the rooftop of the Al-Rashid Hotel, he chronicled—quite literally – the impact of the bombing campaign. But on Day Four he was taken to a bombed-out building in a suburb that was then an infant milk formula factory would later gain notoriety thanks to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh—Abu Ghraib. His report was accurate. In 2003, Arnett was once again in ‘enemy territory’ and (by his own later admission, unwisely) gave an interview to Iraqi television during the Second Iraq War. In the interview, he stated that the civilian casualties inflicted by the Coalition forces were counterproductive. In August 2021, it was the turn of another New Zealand journalist, Charlotte Bellis reporting for Al Jazeera English, to tell us what she sees. And much of the world has now seen her. The author examines the pitfalls that she may face.


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Author Biography

Gavin Ellis, Media consultant and researcher

Dr Gavin Ellis is a media consultant and researcher. A former editor-in-chief of The New Zealand Herald, he has a background in journalism and communications—covering both editorial and management roles—that spans more than half a century. A strong advocate of freedom of speech, he was chairman of the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee and was recipient of the British Commonwealth Astor Press Freedom Award in 2005. He is author of Trust Ownership and the Future of News: Media Moguls and White Knights (London, Palgrave) and Complacent Nation (Wellington, Bridget Williams Books). This commentary was first published on his blog Knightly Views. www.knightlyviews.com



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Bellis, C. (2021, August 22). Afghanistan’s future: Taliban members prepare to appoint government. Al Jazeera English. Retrieved on August 15, 2021, from https://youtu.be/nR2pSHSH6V4

Ellis, G. (2021, August 24). Charlotte Bellis faces perils outside ‘ enemy territory’. Knightly Views. Retrieved on August 25, 2021, from https://knightlyviews.com/2021/08/24/charlotte-bellis-faces-perils-outside-enemy-territory/

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Hersh, S. (2004, April 30). Torture at Abu Ghraib: American soldiers brutalized Iraqis. How far up does the responsibility go? The New Yorker. Retrieved on August 25, 2021, from https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2004/05/10/torture-at-abu-ghraib

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How to Cite
Ellis, G. (2021). Taliban takeover: Charlotte Bellis faces perils outside ‘enemy territory’ . Pacific Journalism Review : Te Koakoa, 27(1 & 2), 41-46. https://doi.org/10.24135/pjr.v27i1and2.1207