By: L.J. Devon
January 4, 2016
2015 was a dark year for journalists around the world. Heeding the call of confrontation, journalists are standing directly in harm’s way, doing very important work in a time of extremes. What’s most shocking is that journalists are becoming targets not only in war zones, but also in countries that were once considered safe zones. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), 110 journalists were slain in 2015, and a staggering number of those deaths took place in “peaceful” countries. In fact, two-thirds of the deaths took place in places regarded as safe, an extreme shift from the year before, when two-thirds of journalist deaths occurred in war zones.
The annual RSF report found that 11 were killed in Iraq and 10 in Syria. The world may never truly understand what’s going on in the Middle East because the bearers of truth may never be heard – shot to pieces as their reports disintegrate in the sand or fall into enemy hands.
The RSF warned that “non-state groups” such as jihadists and the Islamic State are beginning to target more journalists than ever before. Eight journalists in France, all connected to a satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo, were murdered by jihadists.
Journalists play an important role in exposing the motivations behind atrocities. They are a brave, powerful force of good to help the world see. Truth telling allows the world to see the most evil motivations so that all life can be protected.
Sadly, the truth tellers are the most vulnerable in society and may have to move often, change names and protect themselves in ways that the average person would never understand. The RSF reported that 43 journalists were killed in circumstances that were unclear. Perhaps the journalists got in the way of powerful agendas being carried out by billionaires or government agencies. In India, nine journalists were killed in 2015 because they were reporting organized crime being carried out by politicians and illegal mining operations.
Some journalists, like those in France, died at the hands of radical jihadists. “Caught between the various parties to the conflict since 2011, journalists are liable to end up as collateral victims, being taken hostage by a non-state group (such as Islamic State, the Al Nusra Front or the Free Syrian Army) or being arrested by the Assad regime,” RSF said.
The RSF report also brought attention to the deaths of 27 “citizen-journalists,” who may be the most vulnerable, because they are not protected by traditional media organizations. Citizen journalists are also often not beholden to any special interest agenda and may even be at risk of interfering with the official story of a mainstream media organization. Journalism can be hijacked and paid off too, to cover up the truth and make a false narrative sound legitimate. After all, official stories serve one purpose: to protect officials and keep the powerful in power. If a story is repeated enough, it is believed and thus becomes religiously true in the minds of the masses. For example, many minds still believe all vaccines are safe and effective and buy into the hype that vaccines should be required to eradicate viruses.
“The 110 journalists killed this year need a response that matches the emergency. A special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for the safety of journalists must be appointed without delay,” says RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire.
Since 2005, a total of 787 journalists have been knowingly targeted and slain while doing their important work. This is not an issue to be passive about.
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