The members of a CNN news crew got the most vivid possible sense of the potential for the Libyan protests against Muammar Gadhafi to escalate toward civil war yesterday: A bomb detonating mere feet away from the site where they were filming an on-the-ground report.
“A Libyan air force jet … flew right over our heads and dropped [a] bomb,” Middle East correspondent Ben Wedeman told last night. “It wasn’t more than about a hundred feet from where we were standing.” Wedeman was the first Western TV journalist to make it on air last week from Libya, where reporting conditions have been more dangerous than they were in neighboring regimes. You can watch the video of Wedeman’s account below.
The incident was the latest reminder of the hazards journalists face in reporting on the volatile conditions of popular unrest in the region. During last month’s demonstrations against Egypt’s now-deposed leader Hosni Mubarak, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and several other Western journalists were beaten by pro-Mubarak mobs. And during the popular celebrations in Cairo’s , CBS News correspondent Lara Logan suffered “a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating,” according to a network statement.
During the recent civil unrest in Bahrain, meanwhile, correspondent Miguel Marquez was assaulted during a crackdown by state riot police. Marquez described his assailants as a “gang of thugs.”