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Iraq, and other wars: The risks of reporting from the field

Is the current Canadian military campaign too risky, costly or inaccessible for the media to cover? Watch our panel.

By: /
27 March, 2015
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Since a Canadian Armed Forces mission in Iraq was approved in October, 2014 — what is now known as Operation IMPACT — there have been few media reports from the field. Is that due to a lack of access, logistical challenges or the security risks for journalists? Which barriers exist in reporting on the current mission, and are reports from the field useful in our understanding of the war on ISIS?

As the Canadian government looks to extend its military mission in Iraq and expand into Syria, we welcome veteran journalists to discuss the challenges in covering war, the importance of government transparency, and the differences between the current campaign and those past.

Join CBC’s Saša Petricic, Maclean’s Michael Petrou and photojournalist Louie Palu here on OpenCanada for a live, online panel on Wednesday, April 1, at 12pmET. Send comments and questions using #CICIraq.

https://youtu.be/ZY7zm2Em9to

Our Panelists

Michael Petrou is an award-winning senior writer at Maclean’s magazine. He has covered conflict across the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. He is the author of ‘Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War’, which was shortlisted for the Ottawa Book Award, and ‘Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post-9/11 Islamic World’, which won it. He has a DPhil from the University of Oxford.

Louie Palu is an award winning photojournalist whose work has appeared in publications internationally. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting Grant and was a 2011-12 Bernard Schwartz Fellow with the New America Foundation for an in-depth study on the Mexican drug war and organized crime. He is well known for his long-term coverage of stories including covering the war in Afghanistan from 2006-2010. His work has been featured in the BBC, Al Jazeera, PBS NewsHour, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, TIME, The Atlantic, The Globe and Mail and many others. For more on his work, visit: louiepalu.com.

Saša Petricic is the Middle East correspondent for CBC-TV. He has reported from Syria on the civil war, followed the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, as well as covering recent events in Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon. His coverage of Syria won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Reporting in 2014. He has been nominated for a Gemini Award, as well as receiving awards from the Radio Television News Directors Association (RTDNA) and the Canadian Association of Journalists for his documentary story-telling and investigative journalism. A veteran journalist, his stories have taken him to every continent. In 2006, Petricic was the first CBC reporter to file stories from Antarctica. He covered the tsunami in Southeast Asia and genocide in Rwanda, the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. and Canada’s mission in Afghanistan for CBC News. He has also worked on special projects for BBC Television News and appeared on CNN.

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Journalism in Canada has suffered a devastating decline over the last two decades. Dozens of newspapers and outlets have shuttered. Remaining newsrooms are smaller. Nowhere is this erosion more acute than in the coverage of foreign policy and international news. It’s expensive, and Canadians, oceans away from most international upheavals, pay the outside world comparatively little attention.

At Open Canada, we believe this must change. If anything, the pandemic has taught us we can’t afford to ignore the changing world. What’s more, we believe, most Canadians don’t want to. Many of us, after all, come from somewhere else and have connections that reach around the world.

Our mission is to build a conversation that involves everyone — not just politicians, academics and policy makers. We need your help to do so. Your support helps us find stories and pay writers to tell them. It helps us grow that conversation. It helps us encourage more Canadians to play an active role in shaping our country’s place in the world.

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