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Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya: Oscar-Nominated Restrepo Co-Director

Tim Hetherington Sebastian Junger Restrepo directors
Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger: Restrepo co-directors.

Photojournalist Tim Hetherington killed in Libya: Oscar-nominated Restrepo co-director

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who co-directed with Sebastian Junger the Oscar-nominated feature documentary Restrepo, was killed by mortar fire in Misrata (also spelled as “Misurata”), Libya, earlier today, April 20, ’11. Hetherington (born on Dec. 5, 1970, in Birkenhead, located in the Greater Merseyside/Liverpool area) was 40.

Three other journalists – Chris Hondros, Michael Christopher Brown, and Guy Martin – were wounded, two of them seriously.

Update: American war photographer Chris Hondros also died. He was 41 years old.

‘Indiscriminate shelling’

Hetherington was in Libya covering that country’s civil war for Vanity Fair, with particular focus on the civilian toll of the conflict. More than 300 civilians have died in Misrata alone.

Yesterday, he posted on Twitter: “In besieged Libyan city of Misurata. indiscriminate shelling by Muammar Gaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

NATO leaders, in fact, have been accused of gross negligence and ineptitude since becoming involved in the conflict.

‘Restrepo’ and ‘Diary’

In the widely acclaimed Restrepo, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington present the Afghanistan war through the eyes of American soldiers fighting the Taliban in the Korengal Valley.

Besides its Oscar nomination, both Junger and Hetherington were shortlisted for the Directors Guild Award in the Documentary category, while Restrepo took home the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the National Board of Review Award for Best Directorial Debut.

Tim Hetherington also directed the 2010 documentary short Diary, winner of the Cinema Eye Honors Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking.

At Slant/The House Next Door, Tom Elrod describes Diary as

a brief document, but Hetherington is able to put you inside the mind of a working war reporter: the jet lag, the various locales, the constant danger, and the strangeness of life back at home. Like Restrepo, he doesn’t have a political statement, simply an experience he wants to share. It’s disturbing and unnerving, but ultimately made with a kind of hope that by bearing witness to an atrocity we can start to understand it.

Hundreds of journalists killed in last two decades

As explained in the Christian Science Monitor, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 895 journalists have been killed since 1992, including 14 in 2011.

The 10 most dangerous countries for journalists since 1992 are: Iraq (149), The Philippines (71), Algeria (60), Russia (52), Colombia (43), Pakistan (35), Somalia (34), India (27), Mexico (25), and Afghanistan (22).

Wholesale slaughter

The Christian Science Monitor also notes that the WikiLeaks controversy exploded when a graphic gun-camera video showed an American military helicopter slaughtering about a dozen people, including two Reuters news agency employees in Baghdad in 2007.

Despite vehement and widespread accusations to the contrary, an internal U.S. military investigation later affirmed that the incident was in accordance with both the laws of war and the U.S. Army’s rules of engagement.

Photo of Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger on the Restrepo “set”: National Geographic Entertainment.

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