120-400 children have been taken hostage at a school in Beslan (Russia)
Sky News have sent Rachel Amatt to Beslan, and Wilf Owen’s been called into give his expert analyst on the siege.
Not sure how Sky’s competitors are covering the news ?
Latest: 16 dead, 31 freed and about 350 still held hostage.
Two large explosions at the school tonight, Rachel thinks the second one sounded more like a bomb.
2 RPG’s they reckon.
There’s another gun battle taking place at the school this morning, Rachel Amatt on Phone from Beslan and David Chater also on phone from Moscow
Sky News at it’s worst at the time of an unfolding tragedy, yet again…
Calm reporting from the scene counteracted by the usual hysterical rantings from the studio presenters.
Martin Stanford unprepared to let facts, as they emerge, take priority over speculation and assumption.
Hopefully the worst presenter of all in such circumstances as these…. Ms ‘Shriek’ Burley…. will be kept off our screens this afternoon.
Peter Sharp has packaged today’s events so far (12.02pm)
Rachel Amatt has been brilliant – the poor girl is completely out of breath, she is now inside the school.
Rachel’s inside the gym
Rachel Amatt is doing a fantastic live reporting near the gym building at the moment. I don’t know on which terms they become correspondents, but she is for sure on the right way! She is showing such a dedication and courage in her live reports.
agreed 100% – Rachel for Correspondent. Rachel’s cameraman is currently filming the scene’s inside the school.
They have removed one of the hostage-takers from the scene (passed Rachel)
Some bad news: Interfax is reporting that 5 children have died in the siege.
Mark and Viv are now live from Sky Centre
I agree, Rachel Amatt is doing a fantastic job of keeping us informed of what is really happening.
Media Guardian+–>(Media Guardian)
TV crews under fire in Russian school siege
Friday September 3, 2004
TV crews put their lives at risk today to provide dramatic reports from inside the Russian school siege in which more than 100 people were reported to have been killed and more than 400 injured.
ITV, the BBC and Sky News all managed to get into the school grounds to provide close-up pictures of the chaotic scenes around the gym where bodies of the hostages were said to have been piled up.
ITV cleared its schedule to cover the unfolding horror with a virtual non-stop running commentary from veteran Julian Manyon, who was crouched outside the gym for the entire hour and a half of the special bulletin.
BBC correspondent Jonathan Charles and Sky News’ Rachel Amatt also risked their lives to bring live reports from the scene.
A BBC spokesman said Charles narrowly avoided being shot as a bullet whizzed past him live on air. News 24 claims to have beaten ITV into the school grounds by around 20 minutes.
Manyon reported from outside the building, initially by videophone, and then managed to get into the school compound for a close-up account, as did Sky and the BBC.
Amid chaotic scenes around the school, it appears the media have been ahead of the Russian authorities in estimating casualties, with ITN’s Russian cameraman, Sacha Lomakin, reporting up to 100 bodies lying in the gymnasium.
Lomakin managed to get into the gym and take two minutes of footage before he was thrown out by Russian troops still battling with the hostage takers.
He reported that there were around 100 bodies on the “charred and smouldering” ground of the gym.
The ITV editor-in-chief, David Mannion, said he had not yet transmitted pictures from within the gym because he wanted to vet them for taste and decency purposes.
“We have to be careful what we show. Obviously the pictures we have already seen are distressing with children naked or semi-naked,” he said.
“I haven’t seen the pictures from the gym yet, because the electricity has been cut over there, but we will see them later and decide what we can show.”
Mr Mannion said he was concerned about his reporter’s safety but that Manyon had taken a decision just before the lunchtime news to “take a calculated risk” and get into the school grounds, as had the reporter from Sky News.
“It all happened so fast. Julian decided on the spot. They got inside the open air quadrangle around the school first and then the cameraman managed to climb inside the gym,” said Mr Mannion.
ITV’s report that around 100 corpses lay in the gym was picked up by other news channels including Sky News, an unusual occurence.
Pictures from the school showed the pandemonium as firefighters battled to put out a fire and special troops continued to end the seige, which could end up being the worst terrorist crisis suffered by Russia.
During his non-stop reporting, Manyon reported that a Russian soldier was shot “no more than 10 yards away from us”. He added there were “still some live bullets whizzing past where we are”.
A clearly concerned Nicholas Owen, in the studio, repeatedly told Manyon to take care of himself in the increasingly perilous situation.
Manyon also reported that a news cameraman, presumed to be near to the gym, had been hit by gunfire.
“A news cameraman was hit about 30 minutes ago. I can’t tell you who he was or which network he worked for but he was wounded and taken away,” he said.
Manyon was providing commentary from a vantage point about 20 yards from the gym, crouching behind a side building abutting the main school building to watch the crisis unfold.
The scene was one of chaos with dozens of civilians milling round with no apparent crowd control by the authorities.
All three networks were carrying the same pictures but Manyon appeared to have scooped everyone with his continuous eye witness account
Owen repeatedly voiced concern for Manyon’s safety. “It sounds to me just that you have been horribly close to some of these bullets,” he said, advising Manyon to “take care”.
Sky News also got within yards of the gym to provide dramatic pictures.
Must agree that Rachel Amatt did a superb job in difficult and dangerous circumstances when the battle was at it’s height.
Shades of Adie in Tiananmen Square………..
Pleasing that Viv’s maturity and experience also prevailed in the studio this afternoon.
An object lesson for her hysterical ‘instant answers’ colleagues who often demean reportage of unfolding tragic events.
Rachel Amatt was absolutely brilliant on her reporting, she deserves much praise for her work from her fellow colleagues aswell as us, the public.
I didn’t see any of this on Sky, only the bulletins on French and Spanish news but, although I suppose it’s inevitable, I hate the way hundreds of children die or are wounded and families suffer intolerable pain and (as per the media guardian article) it’s all about who got there first and certain ever-hungry-for-personal-glory journalists getting their name/s up in lights.
And no, I don’t mean Rachel Amatt. I guess this is the first time she’s seen something this dreadful. There can’t be any way to shut it out. She will certainly find out whether she wants to do this kind of reporting or not.
Is it true btw as per the picture captions on this site that some of the hostage takers were of “Arab origin” and how do they know? Can someone follow up that story?
I agree with the statements about the difference between Sky reporters and the Presenters when stories like this break but from what I could see JT was in charge and there’s no faulting him.
Btw where was or is Laurence Lee as I see David Chater is in Moscow.
” Is it true btw as per the picture captions on this site that some of the hostage takers were of “Arab origin” and how do they know? Can someone follow up that story? “
Sky News said that 3 or 4 hostage takers have been captured alive, they then followed saying that some of them seemed to be of an Arab nation..
It’s ok, everything is now ok because the Queen of England has sent her condolences to the Russian parents who have lost loved ones during this seige! :angry: I hate that crap!!
I went to the Reuters site as I trust them – usually get things right. This is a partial extract at 9pm.
[B]SEVENTY-NINE BODIES IDENTIFIED
The regional head of Russia’s FSB security service, Valery Andreyev, said 79 bodies had been identified so far from the bloody hostage saga in Beslan, in the North Ossetia region bordering Chechnya.
“The number of those killed in the terrorist act in Beslan could be far more than 150,” Aslambek Aslakhanov, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin, told reporters. Up to 1,500 pupils, parents and teachers had possibly been in the school.
Witnesses saw about 20 dead children at a hospital morgue.
The Emergencies Ministry said 646 people, including 227 children, were in hospital.
“My friend is a teacher at the school but since the assault we have heard nothing about her … We are going from hospital to hospital looking for her,” said one man, who gave his name only as Vladimir.
Russian authorities said they had been forced into an unplanned rescue operation when the hostage-takers opened fire on fleeing children.
Moments before the battle erupted, officials said they had sent a vehicle to fetch the bodies of people killed in Wednesday’s seizure of the school.
“No military action was planned. We were planning further talks,” said Andreyev.
RUSSIA SAYS 10 ARABS KILLED
Andreyev said security forces had killed 20 of the gunmen, including 10 Arabs, adding fuel to Russia’s contention that Chechen rebels are backed by foreign Islamic militants. The hostage-takers were believed to number about 40.
Some officials suggested an al Qaeda financing link to the gunmen.
Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000 on a promise to restore order in Chechnya after years of violent rebellion and hostage-takings similar to the one in Beslan.
One hundred and twenty-nine hostages and 41 rebels were killed when Putin sent in troops to overpower Chechen rebels who seized a Moscow theatre in 2002. But violence in the region and elsewhere in Russia has raged on.
World leaders sent messages of support and sympathy to Russia, although many have questioned Moscow’s human rights record in an often bloody campaign against Chechen rebels seeking independence for their region.[/B]
What’s David C’s reporting from Moscow focusing on – the range of recent attacks, the Russian policy or the alleged Arab angle? Is Rachel A still reporting live from the site of the tragedy.
I hope the media will respect the privacy of the families. Fat chance.
Rachel is still live in Beslan, David Chater is reporting on ‘Putin’s Postion’
rachel was amazing……i smell yet another sky news award coming its way!
Putin is now at the School in Beslan
I agree. Rachel Amatt is bound to win awards for this. This will really make her name in TV journalism, this year’s Rageh Omar anyone? But will Sky be able to keep her? America wouldnt take her though, they would say her nose is too big. incidentally, is it just me or does the media have a anti putin agenda? it seems they really want him to get the blame, though i suspect he wont. certainly the russians were unprepared and the whole thing was a shambles, but I dont think he has responsibility for deaths this time whereas you could say that he did in the moscow theatre siege.
Well when you look at the scale of destruction at the school, you have to wonder how other nations’ special forces may have handled the situation (perhaps)…and Putin has been criticised for turning up for a very short visit despite the scale of this terror attack. His govt’s policies on Chechnya have been criticised repeatedly by human rights groups. I read on the web that he made a short speech outside the school during which he didn’t mention Chechnya once.
According to Johnnie’s home page, David C is now with Rachel in Beslan as the horror continues. He knows a thing or two about the Chechen war in the 1990s when he was Sky’s correspondent in Russia and he won an award for his coverage of the war in Chechnya at that time. It’s been going on for ages now, mostly unreported. This kind of attack has certainly put the Chechen war back on the front pages and the top stories – but so did the theatre attack, but that got the Chechen suicide bombers/attackers temporary publicity but achieved nothing other than killing a lot of innocent people. No-one was held to account in Russia and nothing was resolved in Chechnya. (Assuming it can be resolved…)
I hope that Sky are bringing some depth to their coverage (analysis not just “look what’s happening now”)? ie are they explaining or attempting to without delving into the realms of wild speculation (or dredging out “studio experts”) that another viewer complained about re the presenters yesterday? For eg, as I haven’t had access to the news other than the web, I would really like to know if the “Arab” involvement in this appalling atrocity is real, or whether that claim made by the Russians is at all driven by political expediency. With the world media there in droves, I guess and hope that the truth will out. I also hope that the focus will not just be on the sensational images.
I watched a programme earlier today with some of the chief news eds of both french and Belgian TV on how difficult it is to make a decision on what to show, how much to show and what is gratuitous and what essential. It varies widely from country to country. In South Africa, for example, almost nothing is too ‘strong’ to be shown. (But that is a country almost totally desensitised to violence).
How much of the actual reality are Sky showing – and other British channels?
Thank you Johnnie for the photos on the site. I am stuck with old style bulletins at 1pm and 8pm which are very limited. However is there any way you could put a time/date – other than the one on the screen – on the photos as otherwise it is hard to know what date they refer to? (actually that request could refer to all the photos on your site). Thanks v much.
Please keep updating this forum with what’s going on in Beslan. Thank you…