Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Learning About Risk

By IWPR
  • Journalists at their first meeting with soldiers at Vaziani military base.
    Journalists at their first meeting with soldiers at Vaziani military base.
  • Journalist Dato Kakulia explains the rules of competition.
    Journalist Dato Kakulia explains the rules of competition.
  • Last interviews before the battle.
    Last interviews before the battle.
  • First fire.
    First fire.
  • Cameraman Amiran Murvanidze in action.
    Cameraman Amiran Murvanidze in action.
  • Journalists of Imedi and Adjara TV stations interview soldiers.
    Journalists of Imedi and Adjara TV stations interview soldiers.
  • Captured journalists being taken to prison.
    Captured journalists being taken to prison.
  • Soldiers taking a smoking house.
    Soldiers taking a smoking house.
  • The winners from Georgian public broadcaster.
    The winners from Georgian public broadcaster.
  • Shorena Ratiani of IWPR, Kate Whyte of the British embassy and British ambassador to Georgia Denis Keefe at the award ceremony.
    Shorena Ratiani of IWPR, Kate Whyte of the British embassy and British ambassador to Georgia Denis Keefe at the award ceremony.

The plot of the movie Black Hawk Down was used by IWPR for an exercise to train journalists from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgian in conflict reporting. The trainees divided into teams playing US troops and Somali militiamen.

Some learned from their mistakes the risks involved, ending up being “killed” because they took too many risks. Experts judges the trainees’ work and first place went to a crew from Georgian public television.

The exercise, covered by Georgian, Armenian, Azeri and German media with more than 18 TV-reports and live broadcasts, as well as over 30 text and radio reports, also made a stir on military web forums, where it remained one of the most-discussed themes for several days.

The exercise was staged at a Georgian military base in Vaziani near Tbilisi, which had been bombed during the Georgia-Russia war in August 2008. The exercise, a product of cooperation between IWPR, the Georgian defence ministry and Airsoft Club, involved up to 130 people. It was intended to identify the typical challenges facing journalists covering military affairs in the Caucasus.

Britain’s ambassador to Georgia, Denis Keefe, presented certificates to the contest winners at the closing ceremony and said, “We will always support such interesting initiatives …We live in a difficult region, where journalists should be prepared for the unexpected.”

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