Will Journalist ever be Safe?

28 Feb

It amazes me to see the life threatening and crippling effects of being a journalist in our society today. There has been numerous journalist that have been killed within the last 3 to 5 years. For instance, just in 2007 there was a record of 120 journalist that were killed. Along with that there was another record set with 259 journalists being imprisoned. These facts amaze me because these are truly just people who are trying to provide other people with the information that would go unnoticed otherwise. Many people including I, are not aware of the risk these journalists worldwide take daily. However, the Washington Post had their first ever Superbowl commercial in which they took the opportunity to open the worlds eyes to a continuous trend that has been going on for years. This was the perfect opportunity for the Washington Post to air this commercial. The Super bowl is the most watched sporting event every year and it is especially recognized for its unique commercials displayed. This commercial showed several journalists, some who were affiliated with the Washington Post, who were either killed, missing, or imprisoned. Most of the journalist who were killed, missing, or imprisoned happened to be in other countries. For instance, washingtonpost.com stated, “…freelance reporter Austin Tice, who has been missing in Syria for more than six years. Tice is believed to be alive, though his whereabouts are unknown. Another freelance journalist, columnist Jamal Khashoggi, was killed at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The CIA determined, with high confidence, that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khaggi’s killing.” This is just saddening to me and quite frankly shocking. Imagine having a loved one travel out of the country to give other citizens a chance to be up to date on what events are going on and not knowing their whereabouts. This must be changed, I believe that since journalist are not given the opportunity to report freely and safely that they should have protection. Each time a journalist is assigned to travel and report on a serious matter that is in an unsafe environment they should be security to escort them. With this being said, one thing the Washington Post commercial during the Super Bowl could have did was give people an opportunity to donate for these missing, killed, or imprisoned journalist. Donate for their protection and even the well-being of the families of the journalist who risked their lives. This leads me to question when exactly did it become unsafe for journalist to report on other countries, and even why? From reading the article on www.journalistsfreedom.com the TED talk “How Journalism Became One of The Most Dangerous Jobs in The World” it states, “Unfortunately, it’s not just the terrorists who are to blame. When Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center in 2001, it was President Bush who set the ground-rules. In a special joint session of Congress, he declared that in this war, you are either with us, or you are with the terrorists. With that single statement, he made the conflict a binary choice. Suddenly, there was no middle ground – no space for debate or nuance. For journalists, it meant that if you crossed the line in the pursuit of the most basic professional demands of balance, accuracy and fairness and went to find out what the war might mean for the other side, you suddenly became “the enemy”. Tensions have seemed to rise after the terrorist attack 9/11 and seem to continuously get worse. We need to come together as a country who stands on its rights and freedom of speech to make sure that journalist nationwide is safely able to deliver the facts that we all want.

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