By KATHERINE FERNANDES
What comes to mind when we think about the most dangerous jobs in the world? We may think of firefighters, astronauts, bodyguards, men working for the military or perhaps fishermen, but few of us would believe that journalists face greater dangers for reporting the news.
According to the United Nations, “Journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in the world.”
Journalists go out to the streets to explore and report what is happening. Unfortunately, in this profession, the stories covered may result in kidnapping, assault and even death of journalists and their staff.
Nowadays, journalism is more dangerous than ever. The cruel beheading of South Florida native Steven Satloff and James Foley in Syria are great examples of this risky job. Covering a war is obviously a dangerous task, but being brutally killed in front of a camera just for saying the truth and reporting the news, is unacceptable.
In the recent years, Syria has shown to be the deadliest country for journalists to operate. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 70 other journalists have been killed and more than 80 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria, some of which cases are not publicized. CPJ estimates that approximately 20 journalists are missing in Syria and many journalists are still believed to be kept by the Islamic State.
Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said “journalists report on human rights violations and bad governance, give voice to the victims and the oppressed, and contribute towards raising awareness of human rights issues, and this service deserves better protection.”
Sadly, journalists have less protection than any other risky job. People don’t realize this until they see innocent journalists that have been arrested, kidnapped or murdered.
In these years, the death of a journalist is usual. Last year, at least three dozen reporters were murdered in their jobs. They didn’t have a uniform or carry a gun, they were simply doing their job; asking questions, looking at records and reporting the truth.
Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia have been considered the most dangerous countries for journalists in the last years.
In 2014, an aggressive fire killed more journalists than American soldiers in Afghanistan. In the same year, three Al-Jazeera journalists were convicted and sentenced to prison for seven years with terrorism-related charges in Egypt.
Another shocking case back in 2001, was Jose Luis Ortega Mata, an editor of a weekly newspaper in Mexico. He wrote an article on drug traffickers funding the election campaigns of Mexican politicians. Too much coincidence that days after his article was released, someone fired two bullets into his head without any reason.
Cases like this occur on a daily basis. Some are published and some are not and it is hard to make justice over these journalist’s deaths.
Reporting requires curiosity, written and verbal communication skills, objectiveness and passion for the truth. But what it mostly requires is courage.
Reporter’s work is to inform the citizens by telling the news, which is the material we use to think about the word’s happenings beyond ourselves. As any other job, journalism doesn’t deserve threatening to those who practice it. Needless to say, people with a journalism profession deserve more protection for informing the world.