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Photojournalist killed, three photographers wounded in explosion

(CPJ/IFEX) - New York, April 20, 2011 - Acclaimed British photojournalist and filmmaker Tim Hetherington was killed in an explosion in the western Libyan city of Misurata today, and three other photographers were wounded, The New York Times and other news outlets reported. Hetherington, a veteran war photojournalist, co-directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary Restrepo.

The blast was believed to have been caused by a mortar round, according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited doctors and colleagues. News reports identified the wounded as photographers Chris Hondros, an American working for Getty Images; Guy Martin, a Briton working for the Panos photo agency; and Michael Brown, who was working for Corvis.

"We're shocked and saddened by word that our colleague Tim Hetherington has died, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues," said Robert Mahoney, CPJ deputy director. "The Libyan conflict is proving to be an extremely dangerous story for journalists to cover."

Hondros and Martin suffered grave injuries, according to The New York Times, citing a colleague of the journalists who was at the medical center where they were being treated. Misurata is held by rebel forces but has been fiercely contested. The Los Angeles Times, reporting from Misurata, said the journalists had been working near the front lines of local militia.

Hetherington and American journalist Sebastian Junger co-directed the 2010 film Restrepo, which documented the year they embedded with U.S. military in Afghanistan. Born in 1970, according to his online biography, Hetherington had won numerous other awards, including a 2009 Alfred I. duPont Award for broadcast journalism.

Two other journalists have been killed this year in the Libyan conflict. An unknown gunman killed Mohammed al-Nabbous, founder of the online Libya Al-Hurra TV, as the journalist was streaming live audio from a battle in Benghazi on March 19. Cameraman Ali Hassan al-Jaber was shot when his Al-Jazeera crew was ambushed near Benghazi on March 13.

CPJ has documented more than 80 attacks on the press since political unrest erupted in Libya in February. They include the fatalities, numerous injuries, 49 detentions, 11 assaults, two attacks on news facilities, the jamming of two international television transmissions, at least four instances of obstruction, the expulsion of two international journalists, and the interruption of Internet service. At least six local journalists are missing amid speculation they are in the custody of security forces. One international journalist and two media support workers are also unaccounted for.

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