CBS Journalist Wounded In Pakistan

CBSNews.com's Tucker Reals filed this post from the CBS News London Bureau after hearing that colleague Sami Yousafzai had been shot during an attempted abduction in Peshawar, Pakistan.
I posted a story on CBSNews.com early Friday morning from Pakistan about a Japanese journalist and his Pakistani assistant being shot in an attempted abduction. This was the third such story from the same city in as many days. The first was an American aid worker shot to death near his home.

A bit later, the deputy bureau chief in London, Andy Clarke, told me: "the Pakistani 'fixer' who got shot in Pakistan ... that was Sami."

(AP Photo)
He was talking about Sami Yousafzai, a man whom I have gotten to know fairly well during the last two years in London, and whom I like a lot. Although his English is rough, Sami is a warm, pleasant guy, who's always cracking jokes.

I felt stunned. And scared.

Andy was calm and quick to tell me that the bullet went through Sami's chest and missed all vital organs. Andy has been through these nightmares before, even worse, but it affected him, too.

Moments later we were on the phone with Sami.

"I'm okay, I'm gonna be okay," Sami said.

I asked if there were any bullets still in him. He said there was one in his arm still. A second bullet went into his chest but was gone and not "in a dangerous place."

It's entirely too easy in this job, and I imagine in the general public, to forget about the countless local "fixers" and "assistants" and "translators" who work in the most dangerous places on Earth to help major media outlets cover the news. Those places, to them, are not faraway hell-holes on television. They're home.

Once the "stunned" feeling passed, I was just relieved that the bullet missed Sami's vital organs. But it's an awful feeling when someone you know, respect, and like a lot doesn't make it through a day at work.

Sami now becomes a statistic for groups that monitor the fate of journalists working in dangerous places. On Thursday, a Mexican crime reporter was murdered in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican city across the border from El Paso, Texas.

The Committee To Protect Journalists reports 34 individuals have been killed in 2008 due to their work as journalists. They either died in the line of duty or were deliberately targeted for assassination because of their reporting or their affiliation with a news organization.
  • Christine Lagorio

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