Sunday Times to Freelancers: We Don't Want Your Syria Stories

England’s Sunday Times is no longer accepting freelancers’ work from Syria, saying that to do so puts reporters at risk.

Via the Press Gazette:

After submitting pictures from Aleppo this week [freelance photographer] Rick Findler was told by the foreign desk that “it looks like you have done some exceptional work” but “we have a policy of not taking copy from Syria as we believe the dangers of operating there are too great”.

Findler, 28, has been published before in The Sunday Times and has been to Iraq, twice, Libya and this is his third trip to Syria.

He said: “Surely it is that photographer’s decision to choose whether or not they take the risks.

“I thought part of photography was the fact that some people in this world do take exceptional risks to show the rest of the world what is happening.

"I just don’t know what else to do any more. I really feel disheartened and extremely let down.”

"This is not a financial decision. It is a moral one," Graeme Paterson, the Sunday Times policy deputy foreign editor, told the Press Gazette, when asked to explain the decision. He added that the paper has staff reporters in the region.

“In the light of what happened to Marie Colvin we have decided we do not want to commission any journalists to cover the situation in Syria.

“And we take the same view regarding freelancers speccing in material. Even if they have returned home safely.

"This is because it could be seen as encouragement go out and take unnecessary risks in the future.

“The situation out there is incredibly risky. And we do not want to see any more bloodshed. There has been far too much already.”

Colvin, an American war correspondent working for the Sunday Times, and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed last February in Homs by rockets fired by the Syrian government.

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