I have just been re-reading Edward Behr’s memoir of life in journalism. Its account of the war in Algeria has this numbing tale of journalistic behaviour, which must rank as one of the gravest professional outrages ever committed:
…for sheer callousness, it was difficult to beat the French freelance photographer, with excellent OAS connections, who actually set up the killing of a veiled Algerian woman, accompanying an OAS killer team, choosing the victim, shooting the actual act of gunning down and the woman’s death throes on the pavement.
The case came to light only because, after a few too many drinks in the Aletti bar, the photographer boasted of what he had done. An ad hoc committee of French reporters met to discuss what action should be taken. They decided to report him to the French authorities — but no sanctions were imposed, and the photographer continued to operate with impunity…