Journalist Simon Dring no more

British journalist Simon Dring no more
British journalist Simon Dring no more
6 Min Read

British foreign correspondent, television producer, and presenter Simon Dring has just passed away. Simon Dring died on Friday during routine surgery for a bowel obstruction.

Dring was undergoing routine surgery for a hernia in Romania on Friday when he had a heart attack, said Chris Barlas, a cousin. The surgical team was unable to revive him. Dring leaves behind his partner Fiona McPherson, and three daughters.

As a reporter, he covered major stories around the world, including Bangladesh’s War of Liberation. He reported for the BBC from many conflict zones between 1960-80s. He leaves behind his partner Fiona and two young children, Ava and India.

Simon Dring started as a feature writer on the Bangkok World newspaper when only 18. He went on to report the Vietnam war, reporting for Reuters and other news organizations.

His subsequent career for The Telegraph and the BBC was marked by quality reporting from Biafra, Bangladesh, Eritrea, and many other conflict zones. He was on the plane carrying Khomeini back from Paris to Iran in 1979. Simon Dring was injured several times and imprisoned in Uganda by Amin, where he was threatened with execution.

According to Wikipedia, Simon John Dring was born on January 11, 1945, in Norfolk’s Fakenham city in England. Simon Dring is a British foreign correspondent, television producer, and presenter. He has worked for Reuters, The Daily Telegraph of London, and BBC Television, Radio News, and Current Affairs, covering over 30 years, major stories and events, including 22 wars and revolutions worldwide. He also has a wide range of experience in television broadcasting development and management and has designed and produced global television events.

Simon Dring got his first media job in early 1963, at the age of 18, working as a proofreader and feature writer for the Bangkok World newspaper in Thailand.

In 1964, at the age of 19, Simon Dring was a freelance reporter for the London Daily Mail and The New York Times in Laos, before moving to Vietnam at the end of 1964, where he covered the war for two years for Reuters as their youngest staff correspondent at the time.

His journalistic career continued through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s as a staff correspondent for Reuters, The Daily Telegraph, and BBC TV News and a freelance reporter and producer for, among others, The Sunday Times, Newsweek, and BBC Radio News. During this time, Simon Dring covered major stories and events throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria, Angola, Uganda, Eritrea, Cyprus, Israel, Brazil, Croatia, Bosnia, and Georgia.

While working in the war field, Simon Dring was injured two times- the first time in Vietnam and second in Cyprus. His brilliant career as a journalist is filled with numerous prestigious awards and honors. He became the UK Reporter of the Year for his eyewitness accounts in The Daily Telegraph of the massacres in Dhaka during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.

He was selected as the UK Television News Reporter of the Year for his reports for BBC Television News from Eritrea, Zaire, and Iran. Simon Dring obtained International Reporter of the Year (‘Golden Nymph Award’) at Monte Carlo Television Festival to report on the Iranian Revolution for BBC Television News.

He received the ‘International Valiant For Truth’ award for his reports from behind the lines with the EPLF guerrilla forces in Eritrea for BBC Television. Amnesty International recognized him for his radio documentary for BBC Radio 4 on Turkey’s war against the Kurds. He got The Sony Radio Awards for his reporting for BBC Radio 4 on the same incident. He was awarded The New York Festival Grand Prize for his BBC Radio 4 documentary on the US Invasion of Haiti. Besides, Bangladesh expressed its gratitude to Simon Dring for his outstanding role during its War of Liberation.

In 1997, Simon Dring joined with partners in Bangladesh to develop, license, and build Ekushey Television, the first private, commercial terrestrial/satellite TV channel in Bangladesh. As Joint Managing Director of ETV (working with Farhad Mahmud, son of the ETV Chairman, the late A. S. Mahmud), Dring helped create a vision for ETV that was about news and education as it was about entertainment. He established what was, in effect, the first television news operation in the country with a team of more than 50 reporters, producers, and editors.

Over the past few years, Simon Dring has continued with his work in television and journalism in several countries, including consultancies in Australia and, more recently, in Bangladesh again, for several different satellite networks, including chief broadcast advisor for the design, development, launch, and launch management of Jamuna Television.

Simon Dring won many awards in Britain and elsewhere. Wonder if the new BBC remembers Simon.

Simon Dring: A true friend of Bangladesh

On March 25, 1971, just before the bloodthirsty Pakistan Army launched the infamous ‘Operation Searchlight’ (the barbaric genocide in Dhaka), they locked up some 200 foreign journalists at the Hotel Intercontinental so that they cannot witness how the atrocious army was setting fire in the slums and houses and killing innocent mass people mercilessly using their heavy weapons.

The monstrous army told them that they should leave the country for their safety and later took them to Dhaka Airport to send them to Karachi. Thus despite knowing about a bloody massacre on a freedom-loving nation on that fateful night, no journalist could gather any information and evidence of the atrocities except an exceptional 27-year-old reporter.

He was none other than the British journalist Simon Dring who hid at the hotel’s lobby, kitchen and rooftop for more than 32 hours, risking his life only to inform the world about the barbarity of the Pakistan Army. When the curfew was lifted on March 27, avoiding the military patrol, he left the hotel, traveled the city riding on a bakers’ van, and collected the evidence of genocide at the University of Dhaka, Rajarbagh Police Line, and various parts of old Dhaka.

Then he managed to board on a flight to West Pakistan, skipping the red eyes of the army. Security personnel stopped him a couple of times, but he somehow preserved his necessary notes until he reached Bangkok. Consequently, Simon Simon Dring penned his famous report ‘TANKS CRUSH REVOLT IN PAKISTAN’ published on the front page of The Daily Telegraph on March 30, 1971, as the first account of the brutal genocide in Bangladesh.

His description of the army’s attack on the civilians in Dhaka was horrifying and shocking but vivid and factual. Simon Dring went to Kolkata from London in November 1971 to collect war news daily and entered Bangladesh on December 16 with Bangladesh-India Joint Force through Mymensingh. In the Dhaka Cantonment, when he met Major Siddiq Salik, the Pakistan Army’s Eastern Command public relations officer, he asked him what he would have done if he would found him (Simon Dring) in March. Salik gave a short answer, “We probably would have killed you”!

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