24 August 2007
Radio-Canada journalist embedded with Canadian Forces loses leg following roadside bomb attack
(CJFE/IFEX) - The following is a CJFE press release:
Radio-Canada journalist embedded with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan loses leg following roadside bomb attack
A roadside bomb that exploded in southern Afghanistan on 22 August 2007 has seriously injured Radio-Canada cameraman Charles Dubois. Dubois lost a leg below the knee; another Radio-Canada journalist caught in the blast, Patrice Roy, suffered severe nervous shock. The bomb also killed two Canadian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter. Radio-Canada is the French-language service of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio and television network.
Capt. Adam Thomson, a spokesman for the Department of National Defense, told CBC News Thursday that Dubois' injury was the first instance in which a journalist embedded with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan has been seriously injured.
According to a CBC report, Roy, the well-known Ottawa bureau chief for Radio-Canada, told reporters he was sitting in the third seat of the light armoured personnel carrier when a huge blast pushed him forward and tore the vehicle apart, killing the medic seated in front of him. "We were at the end of a very difficult mission. They told us, 'The Taliban won't shoot because we're so many tanks. It's a demonstration of force, so they will run.' They didn't run. I was writing my stand-up just seconds before the blast," Roy said. "It was a huge blast. It's a little bit difficult to describe."
According to a recent poll, 70 percent of Quebeckers are against Canada's role in Afghanistan. Roy, in his blog ( http://www.radio-canada.ca/nouvelles/Carnets/plusRecent/2058.asp
), explained that he went to Khandahar to learn "what Canada is doing in Afghanistan and why this mission is so difficult to explain or 'sell' to Canadians. Whether one is for or against the mission, it doesn't matter. We should try to answer these questions."
Staff at CBC and Radio-Canada were shaken by what happened to their fellow journalists. "They deserve our admiration and all of our support. However, public televison has the mandate and the obligation to report directly on a conflict that implicates our citizens and in particular the francophones at this stage of the mission," explained Sylvain Lafrance, vice president of CBC French Services.
Dubois, accompanied by Roy, has been flown to Landstuhl, Germany for medical treatment.
Annie Game, Executive Director of CJFE, is saddened to note that as long as this mission continues the instances of journalists being injured will only continue to increase.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world.