Foreign reporters for CWG went through Delhi bootcamp | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Foreign reporters for CWG went through Delhi bootcamp

delhi Updated: Oct 05, 2010 09:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The man races to a car, throws himself into it and drives in reverse at 90 km per hour, even while two men are firing at him. He has one goal - to squeeze into a tight parking space some distance away... or die!

This isn't a scene from some James Bond film. This was a vital part of the 'hostile environment survival course' that some members of the foreign media contingent currently in India to cover the Commonwealth Games had to go through.

The breakneck driving was getaway practice, the guns were starters' guns and the parking spot was a substitute for finding cover in a small space between two buildings on a Delhi street.

Why? Er, because they were flying into hostile territory, which is to say, New Delhi.

"At another point during the course, we were taken into the (Australian) bush, given a map and a compass, and practised escaping from a hostage situation, surrounded by guns being brandished by people in Middle Eastern headgear and smoke grenades going off around us," said one of the journalists.

"The most useful part of all this was the first-aid training".

Journalists were also given helpful answers to questions like: "If I'm walking down the street and am abducted by terrorists, what do I say to them?"

"It was pretty hysterical," laughed a journalist who has visited India a few times before.

"I tried telling people that it wasn't necessary but was told it was, for insurance".

He added that the problem with Australia was that it was very "insular".

"We have no shared borders with anyone, no need to co-exist, many people don't feel a need to even travel. As a result, there's often no empathy or understanding of different situations, just a fear of the unknown," he said.

Some of the other questions raised by visiting journalists (and not just fearful Aussies) on a first trip to India were: "Do I have to wear a burkha or a head-scarf at all times on the streets of Delhi?"

"Is there a high risk of getting kidnapped if I cross the street without a security escort?"

"Can I shake hands with a woman or is touching not allowed?"

"Will the mafia be targeting foreigners?"

"Are there any phrases that will help if I am kidnapped?"

Curiously Australian cricket reporters, currently in India for the Test series, didn't go through any of this. Perhaps they're expendable.

Or it's just Delhi that's the bad, bad east.

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