Journalists' deaths 'shame Assad'

2012-02-23 07:36
London - Britain's press on Thursday united to pay tribute to "fearless and passionate" Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed when Syrian forces shelled the rebel city of Homs.

US-born Colvin and French freelance photojournalist Remi Ochlik were among dozens killed on Wednesday in the latest onslaught of the district, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said.

Sister paper The Times said Colvin's reporting and subsequent death had strengthened global opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule.

"Marie Colvin stood for truth and courage, which, when brought together, are the greatest moral force on the planet," said the paper's editorial.

"What she saw in Syria ranked among the worst crimes that that veteran reporter had encountered.

"President Assad should know that, hard though it is, we have listened. Britain has listened. And it knows, it understands now, what he has done," it added.

'Extraordinary journalist'

John Witherow, the Sunday Times editor, earlier described Colvin as "one of the greatest foreign correspondents of her generation" and an "extraordinary journalist".

Fellow broadsheet The Guardian praised Colvin's 30 years of "tough, humane, highly intelligent reports from the world's frontlines, the last only hours before she died.

"She knew the risks," reasoned the paper's leading article. "She believed that to bear witness, it was worth it."

The Daily Telegraph's obituary called Colvin a "fearless, passionate and ebullient foreign correspondent regarded by many as a latter-day Martha Gellhorn" and celebrated her larger-than-life personality.

"She loved life, and brought an American exuberance to the countless parties she graced over many years," it recalled.

"From the Gandamak Lodge in Kabul to Harry’s Bar in Paris, she could be found at the heart of the conversation, cigarette and brimming vodka martini in hand."

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