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Cameron pays tribute to Marie Colvin

posted 22 Feb 2012, 06:56 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 22 Feb 2012, 06:57 ]

British parliament joins prime minister in paying respects to journalist, Marie Colvin, killed in shelling in the besieged Syrian city of Homs.

David Cameron on Wednesday (February 22) joined tributes to the journalist 
Marie Colvin's immense courage in repeatedly placing herself in danger to bear witness to appalling atrocities.
"Members of the House will also have seen the reports that the talented and respected foreign correspondent of the Sunday Times, Marie Colvin, has been killed from the bombing in Syria.

This is a desperately sad reminder of the risks that journalists take to inform the world of what is happening and the dreadful events in Syria, and our thoughts should be with her family and with her friends," Cameron told the assembled MP's in the House of Commons.

American Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday when rockets fired by government forces hit the house they were staying in, opposition activists and witnesses said.

At least two other journalists and possibly more were wounded in the attack, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said. One of the wounded was named as British photographer Paul Conroy, the other as Edith Bouvier of France's Le Figaro newspaper. She was said to be in serious condition.

A witness contacted by Reuters from Amman said shells hit the house in the opposition-held Baba Amro district of Homs which was being used as a media centre. A rocket hit them when they tried to escape.

Colvin and Ochlik were both prize-winning veterans of wars in the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere.

The British-based Colvin, who worked for the Sunday Times, lost an eye when she suffered a shrapnel wound while working in Sri Lanka in 2001. In public appearances after that attack, she wore a black eye patch.

Among her awards was a Martha Gelhorn Prize in 2009 for distinguished work over many years.

Ochlik was born in France in 1983 and first covered conflict in Haiti at the age of 20. Most recently he photographed the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. He won first prize for general news in this year's World Press Photo awards for a photo of a rebel fighter in Libya and ran his own agency, IP3 Press.

The Syrian conflict is especially dangerous for journalists to cover as opposition and rebel forces are for the most part bottled up in enclaves which can only be reached by hazardous journeys.

Syria banned almost all foreign journalists from the start of the uprising March 2011, but has started issuing short-term visas for a limited number of journalists, who are allowed to move around accompanied by government minders.

Pro-opposition areas of Homs have been under a sustained bombardment from government forces since Feb. 3. Several hundred people have been killed, activists say.