Tim Hetherington, co-director of ‘Restrepo,’ killed in Libya

Tim Hetherington, the esteemed photojournalist and an Oscar nominee for a gritty and harrowing documentary about the Afghan war, has been killed in the war-torn Libyan city of Misrata, according to the president of the agency that represented him.

Another journalist was seriously wounded but his or her identity was not disclosed. Panos Pictures, which employed Hetherington, confirmed that the photographer’s family had been notified.

“We’re still trying to figure out front lines or house (referring to where he was when killed),” said CSPR agency president Cathy Saypol. “The only thing we know is that he was hit by an RPG with the other guys.”

His last Twitter entry appears to have been made on Tuesday: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

A British native, Hetherington was nominated for “Restrepo,” a documentary film he co-directed with journalist Sebastian Junger that received an Academy Award nomination this year.

Hetherington spent eight years in West Africa and has reported on social and political issues worldwide, most notably the Liberian conflict.

He had gained wide fame for “Restrepo,” which chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, according to the film’s website.

His website says he is interested in “creating diverse forms of visual communication and his work has ranged from multi-screen installations, to fly-poster exhibitions, to handheld device downloads.”

“The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, ‘Restrepo,’ named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military,” his website said.

“This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90-minute deployment. This is war, full stop.”

Biographical material on the “Restrepo” site says Hetherington has reported on conflict and human rights issues for more than ten years.

“He was the only photographer to live behind rebel lines during the 2003 Liberian civil war — work that culminated in the film ‘Liberia: an Uncivil War’ and the book ‘Long Story Bit by Bit : Liberia Retold’ (Umbrage 2009), and his work for Human Rights Watch to uncover civilian massacres on the Chad / Darfur border in 2006 appeared in the documentary ‘The Devil Came on Horseback,'” his biography on the “Restrepo” website said.

In 2006, he took a break from image-making to work as an investigator for the United Nations Security Council’s Liberia Sanctions Committee.

“Restrepo” was his directorial debut and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. He has won many other awards.

“Diary,” his most recent film, is “a highly personal experimental short.”

Vanity Fair magazine said Hetherington won the World Press Photo Award in 2007 for his coverage of American soldiers in Afghanistan for the magazine.

Born in Liverpool and a student of literature at Oxford University, the 41-year-old photojournalist returned to college to study photojournalism and was a contributing photographer for Vanity Fair magazine.

Before these casualties were reported, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the watchdog group, documented more than 80 attacks on the press since political unrest erupted in Libya. Its website has a running list of attacks on media people since February 16.

“They include two fatalities, a gunshot injury, 49 detentions, 11 assaults, two attacks on news facilities, the jamming of Al-Jazeera and Al-Hurra transmissions, at least four instances of obstruction, the expulsion of two international journalists, and the interruption of Internet service. At least six local journalists are missing amid speculation they are in the custody of security forces. One international journalist and two media support workers are also unaccounted for,” CPJ said.

In one well-publicized incident, four New York Times journalists were abducted and freed last month. They described “beatings and abuse while in captivity.”

“The journalists are Beirut Bureau Chief Anthony Shadid, reporter Stephen Farrell, and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario. The team’s driver, identified by the Times as Mohamed Shaglouf, is unaccounted for,” CPJ said.

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