Tales of War. Italian Journalists, Photojournalists and Documentarists: Civilian Victims of Conflicts from 1943 to the present day

This paper by Giulio Vasaturo covers the stories of those who have died while carrying out a risky but important job: informing the public about the horrors of war.

If it wasn’t for their work, audiences would not have been able to fully grasp the reality of living first-hand in some of the most tormented corners of the world.  Specifically, the focus of this paper is on the Italians who lost their lives under those circumstances from 1943 to the present day. While they have different stories occurred in different contexts, they all have one thing in common: being civilian victims of conflicts.

The deaths of these journalists, photojournalists, camera operators and documentarists took place in Italy and abroad. In Italy, many of them lost their lives during the liberation period of 1943-1945, while they were working hard to inform people on the developments in the fight against fascism. Abroad, some of these media operators died in areas where Italian peacekeeping forces were deployed, such as Lebanon or Somalia; others in conflicts where the Italian armed forces were not directly involved, such as Georgia or Thailand.

In addition to these cases, many Italians died while operating on the side of their country’s armed forces on peacekeeping missions. An emblematic example is the 12 November 2003 Nasiriya massacre, a date Italians will never forget. The stories of those who died while working in ‘forgotten’ conflicts, the ones rarely covered by mainstream media, are also covered by this article, which concludes with a paragraph on Giulio Regeni and how he had the courage to speak out  in Egypt before tragically losing his life in 2016.

As of today, there has been a slight decrease in the number of victims with respect to the high of 2015, but this is likely only due to the decreased presence of media operators in dangerous areas such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Burundi. It is through the establishment of better protection mechanisms for observers and reporters of conflict, something that several international organizations have already called for, that  significant contributions can be made to the international community’s efforts towards long-lasting peace.

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