REALITY CHECK: At one point while reporting on Chechen resistance fighters (page 1), the Monitor's Scott Peterson was enjoying a car ride through southern Chechnya. "The lush green setting reminded me of Dorset, England, where my wife is from," says Scott. Then his Chechen driver pointed to a lone tree in a field where, he said, a Russian armored personnel carrier had parked during the first war in Chechnya, 1994-96. Then, he pointed to a nearby copse of trees and told Scott, "It was there that I had a brief stint as a sniper. I took two shots at the Russian soldiers," he said. "Did you hit anyone?" Scott asked. "I hope so," said the Chechen. "It was a chilling reminder of where I was," says Scott.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE: For journalists covering clashes involving the Israeli army, the shooting standards and practices are not merely academic (page 1). "For me, and many colleagues, the biggest fear while in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is that we will become victims of either Israeli troops or a Palestinian drive-by shooter," says reporter Ben Lynfield. Ben typically dons a "flak jacket," or armored vest, when venturing into regions where gunfire is likely. Even so, like most print reporters, he positions himself a safe distance from Palestinian demonstrations. Photojournalists and television reporters often have to get closer.

There have been nine cases of journalists being shot at close range by Israeli troops, when there was no exchange of fire and where the journalists were identifiable as such, according to the Foreign Press Association in Israel. Eight of those nine were broadcast journalists or photographers. In the latest shooting, last week, French journalist Bertrand Aguirre of TF1 television was shot in the chest. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest and was not seriously injured. Israeli officials have opened an investigation of the incident.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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