Journalists killed worldwide

Tommy Callaghan, News Editor

While Journalist is not ranked as a dangerous job, it may soon have to be. With 44 journalists killed in 2015, 71 in 2013, and 74 in 2012, journalism is becoming a dangerous field to go into. Some deaths are accidental, like that of a Sri Lankan journalist who was attacked by a wild elephant, but deaths like the ones mentioned above all had motives. But why have journalists been targeted as much as they have? Of the 44 journalists murdered this year, 75% wrote about politics, 43% wrote about human rights, and another 43% wrote about war.

For a long time now, it seems as if the Middle East is the most dangerous area for reporters. In August 2014 five journalists working for a Libyan TV network went missing, abducted by ISIS. Then, nearly one year later, the journalists reappeared dead on April 27, 2015.

Another currently dangerous country is France. After the “Je Suis Charlie” incident last January, French journalism has never been the same. This terrorist attack occurred last January and resulted in the deaths of 12 people. Unlike most terrorist attacks, this attack was caused by a comic strip. When artists and editors of the French newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, created a controversial comic making fun of the Muslim prophet Mohammad, the headquarters were bombed.

This event was a tragedy to the world, especially the world of journalism.

Charlie Hebdo had dealt with situations like the one which ensued before. Months before, the newspaper received threats from a terrorist group claiming that if they continued to produce more controvertial comics that they would attack the writers directly. But, the paper continued to print its comics and the attack eventually came. This attack resulted in the deaths of four journalists and two police officers. Witnesses of the event heard the two attackers shouting, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad” and “God is Great” in Arabic. Other events, similar to ‘Je Suis Charlie,’ have shown how unstable the world of journalism can be.

On August 27, a morning news reporter and her camera man were shot to death from a point blank range. The attack was all filmed by the shooter who, after murdering the two journalists, posted the video and shot himself. Vester Lee Flanagan had previously worked with the 24-year-old reporter, Allison Parker.

For the year Flanagan worked at the ABC news network in Virginia there were reports of Flanagan being difficult to work with and always thought that everyone else was against him. These killings were linked to Flanagan’s desire to get revenge on co-workers he thought were racist. For a long time he just tweeted, then when the mass shooting at a church in Charleston occurred, he was pushed over the edge.

No one watching the 6:45 a.m. news should ever expect to see not one, but two live murders. The families of those involved took days to fully absorb what had happened. During the chaos, the camera cut to the newsroom where slack-jawed anchor Kimberly McBroom sat watching in disbelief. Hopefully, tragedies like these will begin to disappear not only in the United States, but worldwide.

As times continue to become increasingly dangerous for journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is becoming more active in getting better protection for journalists worldwide. At least 18 journalists are in prison for their work and even more have been taken by terrorist groups.

With abductions, murders, and arrests, journalism is not what it used to be. While this career field has always had its risks, the consequences of someone pushing the barriers of freedom of speech are becoming more brutal.Organizations like the CPJ are hoping to make the world of journalism a better place, but progress will be slow.

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