Two journalists killed on the job by falling tree in North Carolina

WYFF News anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of the NBC affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina, died after the tree hit their sport utility vehicle on a highway. (Courtesy WYFF)
Updated 29 May 2018
0

Two journalists killed on the job by falling tree in North Carolina

NEW YORK : A television news anchor and a camera operator were killed on Monday when a tree in North Carolina fell on their vehicle as they were covering the effects of a rainstorm in Polk County, officials said.
WYFF News anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of the NBC affiliate in Greenville, South Carolina, died after the tree hit their sport utility vehicle on a highway, the station reported.
Tryon Fire Chief Geoffrey Tennant said he had just given an interview to McCormick when, minutes later, he received a call about the incident. He arrived to discover the victims were the two men he had just met.
“It personally affected me a little bit because I had done an interview with Mr. McCormick about 10 minutes before we got the call, and we had talked a little bit about how he wanted us to stay safe and how we wanted him to stay safe,” Tennant told reporters.
The ground was saturated from the rain, and a large tree about 3 feet (1 m) in diameter fell on the journalists’ SUV, apparently as it was driving along Highway 176, Tennant said. When first responders arrived, the engine was running and the transmission was in drive, Tennant said.
“It is a freak of nature,” Tennant said. “I think it was a matter of the tree root system had failed and the tree came down.”
McCormick had been with the station since 2007, first as a reporter and later as anchor of two Sunday broadcasts, WYFF said. Smeltzer joined the station in February of this year. Both were born in 1982.
Polk County is about 90 miles (145 km) west of Charlotte.


Police arrest newspaper publisher in midnight raid in Indian Kashmir

Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, a journalist and the publisher of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Afaaq, leaves after a court granted him bail, in Srinagar, June 25, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 June 2019
0

Police arrest newspaper publisher in midnight raid in Indian Kashmir

  • Journalists in Kashmir find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and militant groups battling for independence

SRINAGAR: Police arrested the publisher of one of the most widely read newspapers in Indian-controlled Kashmir in a midnight raid over a decades-old case, the police and his brother said on Tuesday, highlighting the difficulties facing media in the region.
Tension has run high in the Himalayan region since more than 40 Indian police were killed in a February suicide car bomb attack by a militant group based in Pakistan.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the heart of more than seven decades of hostility between nuclear archrivals India and Pakistan. Each claims it in full but rules only a part.
Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, 62, a journalist and the publisher of the Urdu-language newspaper Daily Afaaq, was arrested at his home in the region’s main city of Srinagar, half an hour before midnight on Monday.
“It is harassment,” his brother, Mohammad Morifat Qadri, told Reuters. “Why is a 1993 arrest warrant executed today? And why against him only?“
Qadri was released on bail after a court appearance on Tuesday.
The case dates from 1990, when Qadri was one of nine journalists to publish a statement by a militant group fighting against Indian rule in Kashmir. An arrest warrant for Qadri was issued in 1993, but it was never served.
Qadri had visited the police station involved in the arrest multiple times since the warrant was issued, most recently in 2017 to apply for a passport, his brother added.
Asked why Qadri was arrested at night, Srinagar police chief Haseeb Mughal told Reuters, “Police were busy during the day.”
The Kashmir Union of Working Journalists condemned the arrest, saying it seemed to be aimed at muzzling the press.
“Qadri was attending the office on a daily basis and there was absolutely no need for carrying out a midnight raid at his residence,” it said in a statement.
Journalists in Kashmir find themselves caught in the crossfire between the Indian government and militant groups battling for independence.
Both sides are stepping up efforts to control the flow of information, with the situation at its worst in decades, dozens of journalists have told Reuters.
India is one of the world’s worst places to be a journalist, ranked 138th among 180 countries on the press freedom index of international monitor Reporters Without Borders, with conditions in Kashmir cited as a key reason.