Lucas Dolega

Lucas Dolega (19 August 1978 – 17 January 2011), born Loucas von Zabiensky-Mebrouk and also called Lucas Mebrouk Dolega, was a French/German photojournalist. He was reportedly killed by Tunisian police while he was photographing a protest in Tunis. As reported in The Guardian (UK), Dolega was the first journalist killed during the 2010-2011 Tunisian protests, according to Reporters Without Borders. He was also the first journalist to die while on assignment during the Arab Spring uprisings.[1][2][3]

Lucas Dolega
Loucas von Zabiensky-Mebrouk

(1978-08-19)19 August 1978
Died17 January 2011(2011-01-17) (aged 32)
Cause of deathTear gas canister
NationalityFrench and German
Other namesLucas Mebrouk Dolega
Years active2006–2011
EmployerEuropean Pressphoto Agency

He was fatally injured on the same day that Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia for exile.

Personal informationEdit

Dolega was born in Paris on 19 August 1978 to a German mother and a French father, a journalist and a doctor respectively. He grew up in Paris, before moving to Tangier in Morocco. He had French and German citizenship, and started work as a photographer for European Pressphoto Agency in April 2006.[4][5] He was based in Paris, covered a variety of stories in Europe, and in 2008 photographed the Congo.[6]

Dolega was 32 years old when he died.[7]


On 14 January 2011, the day after Dolega arrived in Tunis, and at the end of a demonstration on Avenue Bourguiba, he was within a group of journalists at the corner of rue Gandhi and rue de Marseille. He was hit in the head by a tear gas canister, about 20 cm long and 5 cm diameter, reportedly fired by police at short range and horizontally toward a group of photographers. He was taken first to a clinic and then to Tunis Rabta Neurologic Hospital where he was operated on but died on 17 January.[5][8][9][10] Fellow photographer and friend Olivier Laban-Mattei brought Dolega's corpse back to France.[11]


Dolega was the first of a number of journalists who were killed over the course of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. He was killed while on assignment. He is among a group of photojournalists who were killed while covering protests, such as Hiro Muramoto, cameraman and journalist shot by a soldier in Bangkok, 2010; or Kenji Nagai, a photojournalist who was shot by a soldier in Rangoon, 2007.


The Lucas Dolega Award (Prix Lucas Dolega) was established in 2011 to honor photojournalists who have reported under difficult circumstances.[12]

In popular cultureEdit

Lucas Dolega is mentioned in the poem "A Love Letter from Emilie Blachère to Rémi Ochlik", written by Paris Match journalist Emilie Blachère on the occasion of the first anniversary of Rémi Ochlik's death.[13] She writes: "My angel, give Lucas a kiss for me. Take care of yourself. Take care of us."[13] After she read the poem on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House news program, radio host Paddy O'Connell broke down emotionally and could not bring himself to continue the news broadcast for around 12 seconds.[14] Rémi Ochlik was a friend and colleague of Lucas Dolega, he was with Dolega when Dolega died, and he worked on establishing an award in Dolega's honor after his friend's death.[11]


  1. ^ "French photographer dies after being hit by police teargas canister in Tunisia". The Guardian. 2011-01-16. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  2. ^ "Lucas Mebrouk Dolega". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
  3. ^ "French photographer dies from injury sustained on day of Ben Ali's departure". Reporters without Borders. 2011-01-18. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  4. ^ "Tunisie: le photographe français vivant", AFP story, Le Figaro, 16 January 2011. (in French) Accessed 25 January 2011.
  5. ^ a b Olivier Laurent, "UNESCO, French government call for investigation of Lucas Dolega's death [update 7] Archived 2011-01-19 at the Wayback Machine", British Journal of Photography, 16 January 2011. Accessed 22 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Remembering Lucas Dolega", European Pressphoto Agency, 17 January 2011. Accessed 22 January 2011.
  7. ^ "French photographer hurt in Tunisia protests dies", Reuters, 17 January 2011. Accessed 22 January 2011.
  8. ^ David Walker, "Photographer dies of injuries in Tunis", Photo District News, 18 January 2011. Accessed 22 January 2011.
  9. ^ Matthias Bruggmann, et al., "Lucas Mebrouk Dolega Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine", Visa pour l'image, 18 January 2011. Accessed 22 January 2011.
  10. ^ Michel Puech, "Lucas Dolega succumbs to a hand grenade Archived 2011-01-21 at", La Lettre de la photographie, 22 January 2011. Accessed 22 January 2011.
  11. ^ a b MacDonald, Kerri (2013-02-22). "Parting glance: Rémi Ochlik". New York Times (blog). Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  12. ^ Reporters Without Borders. "First edition of the Lucas Dolega Award." 18 October 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011 RSF Archived 2011-10-30 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ a b Blachère, Emilie (2013-03-04). "A love letter from Emilie Blachère to Rémi Ochlik". Le journal de la photographie. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  14. ^ Marsden, Sam (2013-03-03). "Choked BBC presenter falls silent after hearing love letter to photographer killed in Syria". The Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 2013-03-03.

External linksEdit