Wednesday, May 16, 2007

High-Risk Jobs

You may or may not know about the movie "A Mighty Heart" that is being released about a month from now. It's about the life and kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, and his wife Mariane's efforts to find and recover him. Mariane wrote a book by the same title, so that their then-unborn son would have a chance to learn about his dad; the movie is based on this book.

For the last couple of months I have been doing research on journalists that have been kidnapped and/or killed in the line of duty. You might not realize that this is such a big thing, but we really take our freedom of speech and freedom of the press for granted. Elsewhere in the world, journalists are regularly targeted for exposing crime and corruption, or simply for speaking out against policies they disagree with. Until the Iraq war, one of the worst places to be a journalist was in the Philippines; now, of course, insurgents specifically target journalists in Iraq so the number of deaths there has easily leapfrogged journalist deaths anywhere else.

If you are curious about this, go check out the movie website: The "In Memoriam" section lists all confirmed journalist deaths in the five years since Daniel Pearl's abduction. Of course, there were plenty before that too, but they really didn't get publicity until Pearl's abduction and subsequent videotaped beheading.

If you want some other links to explore on this topic, you can read:
There are other websites too, of course.

Some of the stories on these sites are pretty shocking. For example, check out this story about the murder of Brad Will; one of the photos actually captures his murderer in the act. Or this story about Venezuelan photographer Jorge Aguirre. After he had been shot, he took one last photo of his murderer fleeing on a motorcycle. The vast majority of these journalists were targeted specifically because of their work, not because they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This will probably give you a different perspective when you listen to your favorite acerbic, loud-mouthed radio talk show host.

1 comment:

Alan Rosenwinkel said...

How high is high-risk? Any idea what percentage of journalists in these high-risk countries are killed?

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