War reporter Marie Colvin’s family sues Syria

The family of murdered journalist and Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin has filed a lawsuit against the Syrian government, accusing it of being responsible for her death while she was reporting in the country in 2012.

The suit, filed to a federal court in Washington, alleges that Colvin was killed in a deliberate attack, planned by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, to silence the media “as part of its effort to crush political opposition”.

Colvin, a veteran war reporter, was killed alongside French photojournalist Remi Ochlik when a rocket attack was launched against a makeshift broadcast studio in the rebel-controlled area of Baba Amr in Homs, the country’s third city.

Colvin’s work and legacy is discussed in the latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, which has a special report on the risks of reporting worldwide. In a piece debating whether journalists should work in war zones, Channel 4 New’s Lindsey Hilsum writes: “In February 2012, Marie and photographer Paul Conroy crawled through a sewer to get to Homs, as the Syrian regime’s bombs turned the buildings of rebel-controlled Baba Amr to burnt-out carcasses and rubble. In her dispatches, Marie described the makeshift beds on which children slept underground to avoid the bombs, the operations without anaesthetic, the despair of people who felt they had been abandoned by the world. It was classic, old-fashioned eyewitness reporting […]

“Marie felt she had a responsibility to report; she refused to leave it to YouTube. Yet, on this occasion, the risk was too great. Was she brave, or – in her own words – was it bravado? Either way, we are all the poorer because Marie Colvin is no longer reporting from Syria.”

Read the full piece in the latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine.