May 25, 2009 / 11:10 AM / 10 years ago

Journalists to ride 200 miles for fallen colleagues

LONDON (Reuters) - Three “overweight and out of shape” journalists set off on a 200-mile (320-km) cycle ride from Britain to France on Monday to mark the third anniversary of the deaths of two colleagues killed in the Iraq war.

Paul Douglas, a news cameraman, and James Brolan, a freelance sound man, were killed by a bomb in central Baghdad in May 2006 along with an American soldier and an Iraqi translator.

The two were British members of a news crew reporting for the American CBS network.

CBS colleagues Andy Clarke, Mark Ludlow and Andy Stevenson plan to cycle to a memorial for fallen journalists in Bayeux, France, which was erected by the Reporters Without Borders charity which campaigns to protect journalists across the world.

Their memorial ride has already raised more than 18,000 pounds ($28,000) (here) and all money raised will be split between RSF and the Rory Peck Trust, a British charity which works to protect freelance reporters.

“These organizations look after all those journalists who leave their families every day and put their lives on the line so that we can sit around the breakfast table and read about it,” Stevenson told Reuters.

According to Reporters Without Borders, 20 journalists have been killed so far this year, including two in Iraq, four in Pakistan and two in Gaza. A total of 60 journalists were killed in 2008, including 15 in Iraq.

Despite describing themselves as “overweight and out of shape” the three men said they had been training for four months and hoped to complete the 200 mile journey within five days.

They aim to arrive at the Bayeux memorial on May 29., three years to the day after Douglas and Brolan were killed.

Reporting by Kate Kelland; editing by Farah Master

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