I found this a very strange title** from the Washington Post for their piece on the release last Wednesday of French reporter Romeo Langlois:
"Freed French reporter has no apologies for covering Colombian conflict from all sides"
What apologies should there be, I wonder, from a journalist for trying to cover his topic from all sides ? Isn't it exactly the duty of any journalist to try and do so and shouldn't those who try to live by this deontology not rather be lauded instead of being expected to offer apologies ? I truly wonder what the WaPo was hinting at here, but it does give a feel for the complexity of the situation on the ground in Colombia and for the personal situation of Langlois in particular.
It was a bit of a coïncidence that I was just reading Garry Leech's "Beyond Bogotá: Diary of a Drug War Journalist in Colombia", which narrative is centered around the capture of the author in August 2006 for eleven hours by members of the FARC, right on the day when French reporter Romeo Langlois, working in Colombia for television station France24 and newspaper Le Figaro, was also captured by the FARC during a firefight with the Colombian military. While Leech at the time was reporting on the consequences of fumigation of coca crops in eastern Colombia, Langlois was embedded with an army platoon that, on April 28 last, went out on a counter-narcotics operation to destroy some drug labs that had been discovered, when, on their mission, they were attacked by rebels of the FARC. In the shoot-out between the two camps, several army soldiers got killed (4 according to army sources, up to 17 according to FARC reports) at which point Langlois, who got shot himself in the arm, allegedly threw off his helmet and bullet-proof vest, apparently to make himself known as a civilian, and ran to the FARC attackers. That was the point where the world lost track of him, until the FARC officially announced on May 6 that the reporter was in their custody as a "prisoner of war".