Journalists in Danger



Whenever journalists work in an area without proper accreditation or enter hostile territory, be it controlled by an "enemy" government, rebels or criminals, they face arrest or in the latter cases, being kidnapped, or even worse, killed.

Journalists many times focus on the negative, trying to uncover abuses, making them even more of a target. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested in March after entering illegally into North Korea, trying to do a television report about allegations of human trafficking. In June, they were sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp.

This report highlights a vigil in Washington, D.C., seeking their release, applying pressure and showing support by sending postcards.

Another U.S. journalist, freelancer Roxana Saberi, was detained in January in Iran, and sentenced to 8 years in jail for cooperating with an enemy government before being suddenly released after four months in jail. In her case, constant political and public pressure seems to have helped in securing her freedom.

Also recently, the New York Times newspaper decided to keep quiet and repeatedly asked other media not to mention the case of reporter David Rohde, who had been kidnapped by the Taliban.

He apparently escaped in June after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The New York Times was afraid that if too much publicity surrounded his case, and ransom was not paid, Rohde could be beheaded.

I myself thought this was presumptuous of the New York Times. News is news, and a newspaper shouldn't be able to dictate to other news outlets what they should or shouldn't report. When you go visit the Taliban, and you are an American citizen, it will be dangerous, until there are no countries that go to war and people aren't identified by their origin. The reward you get for the potential of an in-depth report has a risk.

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