Working in Baghdad
A year ago, I wrote about the difficulties of working in Baghdad.
On 29 May 2006, our colleagues Paul Douglas and James Brolan from CBS News died when a car bomb hit the US military unit they were accompanying in the Iraqi capital. Exactly, 12 months later, the kidnap of five British nationals has given us further cause to stop and ask some hard questions about what we do in Baghdad.
The BBC has had a permanent presence in the Iraqi capital for more than a decade - not always with a reporter (we were thrown out at some points under Saddam). But - just as in many of the world's other trouble spots - it's important that we're there, on the ground, eyewitnesses to what's going on in Baghdad, explaining the context - something we can only reflect by being there. That's why we don't base ourselves in the so-called Green Zone. Instead the BBC bureau is in the "red zone" - among those who continue to try and make a life in Baghdad.
I hope you'll understand why I won't go into too much detail about the precautions that we take, but safe to say our team there work in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.
We have a group of people based in Baghdad - BBC employees not contractors - whose job is to worry about the security of our operation. And we don't spend all day on the roof of the bureau - most days we get out and about.
As I write, I'm watching Paul Wood on BBC World interviewing Canon Andrew White, the Anglican minister in the Iraqi capital; he's being interviewed by the famous "Saddam Swords" across the river from our bureau. The team will have passed a number of Iraqi and American checkpoints to get there, with all the risk that entails.
Every time we leave the bureau it's a major logistical operation - but it's the only way to get to the story. We keep the situation under constant review - balancing the risk, with our ability to tell the story.
We remain in Baghdad because Iraq remains the defining story of our time. At any one time, we have a team of more than a dozen based in the Iraqi capital, both Iraqi and Western nationals. It is only because of their courage - and their belief in the story - that we can continue to do so.