An important voice has been silenced


Nils Horner, Swedish Radio’s correspondent in Asia, has been shot dead in Kabul. The whole thing is surreal, but still real.

By all accounts (so far we know very little) Nils was killed while conducting an ordinary interview on an ordinary street, albeit in a country marked by violence and conflict, but in a quite common situation where there is no protection.

I knew Nils since the time we spent together at a Swedish magazine nearly thirty years ago. Throughout the years we have met now and then, since we both share a passion for reporting from around the world. Last time we spoke was when I interviewed Nils for the chapter on mass media in a high school textbook that I was writing.

Nils possessed an amazing enthusiasm and a willingness to learn about and understand people, especially in countries of which we have a lot of prejudices. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to include him in the book. And maybe that is why it feels particularly tragic that Nils was killed.

A lot of articles will surely be written about the risks that journalists take and what you can do to protect themselves. And of course, those risks come with the profession. You can never be completely safe. If you succumb to fear you will not be able to accomplish anything: one must always believe the best about people, whether you are in Kabul or in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (the city in the world with most murders per capita) that I visited a few days ago.

Nils was one of those people who never became cynical. The emptiness that he leaves behind will be noticed as I turn on the radio.

A voice has been silenced. Forever.

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