• Toronto, University of Toronto
  • April 21, 2009 - 18:30

Kidnapped, Threatened, Under Fire: Three journalists confront the realities of reporting in conflict zones
April 21, 2009, Toronto



Canadians were both shocked and relieved last November when they learned that CBC reporter Mellissa Fung was home safe after suffering through a month-long hostage ordeal in Afghanistan. She had been abducted on October 12, 2008, while on assignment at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the Afghan capital of Kabul, and held hostage in a hole in the ground for 28 days.

The case raised national awareness of the dangers of reporting in conflict zones, as well as questions surrounding the protection of our own journalists. What are the dangers, beyond the obvious safety threats? How are journalists and their employers prepared to face them? Should we set limitations on coverage for safety’s sake?

We get the reaction from three reporters who’ve been there and back: Mellissa Fung is joined by CTV national correspondent Lisa LaFlamme and CBC reporter Derek Stoffel to discuss their experiences. The panel will be moderated by Sally Armstrong, author of two books about Afghanistan: Veiled Threat and Bitter Roots Tender Shoots.

After the Q&A there will be a reception where panelists and guests can continue the discussion.

WHEN: Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Presentation 6:30-8:00, Reception 8:00-9:00

WHERE: George Ignatieff Theatre, University of Toronto
15 Devonshire Place (map)

Mellissa Fung

Mellissa Fung is a journalist with CBC News, appearing regularly as a field correspondent on The National. In her time as a national correspondent she has covered numerous topics on both Canadian and world affairs, including the Robert Pickton trial, the 2003 SARS outbreak in Canada, the trial of Mike Danton, the 2007 Saskatchewan provincial election, and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 2007 and 2008 she was sent on assignment to Afghanistan to cover the Canadian military presence there.

Lisa LaFlamme

Lisa LaFlamme is the National Affairs Correspondent and Fill-In Anchor for CTV National News. She has covered some of the most significant moments in history, from locations all over the world. Since 9/11 she has been in and out of Iraq several times covering the American invasion, elections, the Saddam Hussein trial and the region's ongoing civil unrest. LaFlamme has been on assignment in Afghanistan at various times over the last three years. In 2006, she was embedded with Canadian troops on a grueling 12-day mission to track the Taliban.

Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith served as The Globe and Mail's lead correspondent in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2009, devoting more time to the southern region than any other Western journalist during that time. He is now on leave, working on a book about the conflict. His awards include the Canadian Association of Journalists' prize for investigative reporting; the Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prize; the Amnesty International award for Canadian print journalism; a National Newspaper Award for international reporting; the 2007 Michener Award; and the 2008 Online Journalism Award.

Sally Armstrong

Human rights activist, journalist and award-winning writer Sally Armstrong is the author of Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan's Women. She is a member of the Order of Canada and has been the recipient of numerous journalism and humanitarian awards, including two Amnesty International Media Awards.