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15 Aug, 2012 17:45

Journalists at risk: Who profits from reporter killings in Syria?

Attacks on journalists have intensified in Syria. RT's Tessa Arcillia talked to friends and colleagues of the killed French journalist Gilles Jacquier, who say reporters' deaths play to the benefit of the Syrian opposition.

“Giles was a great friend. He was always smiling, he was happy, always wanted to go places, always curious. He really had this need in his body to tell what's happening on the other side of the world,” Jacquier's close friend and colleague Christophe Kenck told RT.When Jacquier was killed in January, many were quick to point fingers at government forces, but Georges Malbrunot, another French journalist, suggested that Jacquier may have been killed by insurrectionist fire. His report was contrary to the dominant narrative in the media, but he found out that he was not alone in coming to that conclusion. “The intelligence services in France reached the conclusion that he was killed by a mortar of 81mm, coming from the rebel area by mistake,” Malbrunot said.Alex Thomson, chief correspondent for Britain’s Channel 4 News, told RT that the rebels' motivation for killing journalists is obvious, because any such case is a strike against President Bashar al-Assad's regime."My point is, dead journalists are bad for Damascus. You don’t have to be very clever to work out that the deaths of any journalist at the hands of the Syrian Army are going to be an appalling blow, again, for President Assad,” he said.Meanwhile, journalists currently in Syria have been ringing the alarm about the dangers both foreign and local journalists face in the country.On Tuesday, scores of media workers gathered in front of the Syrian SANA news agency in Damascus to pay tribute to journalists killed and kidnapped during the months of unrest.The sit-in's participants held banners advocating for free speech and vowed that attacks on reporters would not stop them from covering the events objectively and revealing the truth about the conflict in the country.