FPA shocked by death of its chairman

Veteran Dutch TV journalist Conny Mus had heart attack.

Conny Mus (photo credit: Courtesy)
Conny Mus
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Colleagues in the Foreign Press Association were shocked to learn over the weekend of the sudden death of its chairman Conny Mus.
An internationally acclaimed broadcast and print media journalist, whom destiny led to cover conflict situations and natural disasters in the Middle East and Europe, Mus lived in Jerusalem. He was vacationing in his native Amsterdam and according to reports died in his sleep of a heart attack sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning. He was exactly two months short of his 60th birthday.
Initially working as a freelance journalist in Israel in 1982, Mus covered the first Lebanon War.
In 1989, the year he joined the RTL broadcasting company, he reported over the fall from power of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Later he covered wars in Kosovo and Iraq, as well as the 1999 earthquake in Turkey.
He covered hostilities between Israel and her neighbors both to the north and south as well as terrorist attacks there.
His work as an on-the-spot field reporter also took him to Cambodia, Moscow, Washington and Madrid, in addition to covering various events in Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. He also reported from time to time for the BBC, CNN and Belgium’s BRTN.
A robust, occasionally aggressive figure, Mus was sometimes perceived by the Israeli authorities as anti- Israel. “Conny actually loved Israel and adored Jerusalem,” said Glenys Sugarman, a veteran foreign correspondent who is also executive secretary of the FPA.
She surmised that those people who mistakenly believed that Mus was anti- Israel did not realize that “the task of a journalist is to report what he sees, what he hears and what happens. A journalist is not a PR person,” she clarified.
Mus and other foreign correspondents were annoyed earlier this year when an information campaign launched by the Israeli government in their opinion depicted foreign correspondents as imbeciles full of misconceptions, and who knew nothing about Israel or Israelis.
Nonetheless he did not allow anger to cloud his thinking. Whoever had come up with the ideas he said, should have thought twice before presenting foreign correspondents as stupid.
The campaign advertisements, he warned, would only exacerbate the existing tensions between FPA members and government representatives.
Mus, who had quite a significant number of altercations with officialdom, especially when the Israel authorities tried to prevent foreign correspondents from entering Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, said in relation to the campaign that the best way for journalists to retaliate was to use the tools of their profession.
Despite several differences with Mus over the years, the Government Press Office on Friday released a statement expressing shock and deep sorrow over his death.
GPO Director Daniel Seaman told The Jerusalem Post that Conny Mus had been his friend for 20 years.
“Conny was the ultimate foreign correspondent for better and for worse. He epitomized the foreign correspondents in Israel. We were sometimes on opposite sides of the debate but it never affected our friendship.
“He loved Israel and he was a fighter for freedom of the press. Sometimes he was antagonistic, but he was always friendly and cared deeply for Israel. I will miss him and other journalists of his generation, like Eric Silver.
Young journalists could learn a lot from them.”
Seaman added that sometimes people don’t realize that professional differences don’t have to become personal.
People have certain jobs to do, but this should not affect their personal relationships, he said.
“Friendship and family are the most important things.”
No matter how often he and Mus disagreed, he recalled, at the end of the day they would sit down and have a drink together.
At press time no date had been set for Mus’s funeral.
His assistant left Jerusalem this week for Amsterdam carrying a message from the FPA to be read out. The FPA will hold a memorial event for him some time in September in his beloved Jerusalem.
Conny Mus is survived by his daughter Natasha and his life partner Mareika.
Some indication of the esteem in which he was held could be seen in the large number of Internet reports of his death that were published all around the globe.
Mus might have been amused by the fact that in the final analysis, he didn’t report the news, he made it.