Friday, September 17, 2010

Journalists on the Front Lines

Stoppard's Night and Day raises complex questions about the need for risk in pursuit of headline news. When an investigative journalist's life is in endangered, is it needless, or crucial to the system of the free press getting the truth back home?

In October, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) released an updated version of its guide to reporting on war and in other situations in which journalists’ lives can be threatened. The handbook is called “On Assignment: A Guide to Reporting in Dangerous Situations,” and what follows are excerpts taken from its various sections.

From Part II: Who is at Risk?
"Even all the risks of reporting in a conflict zone comprise only a small part of the risks journalists face worldwide. In fact, for every journalist killed in crossfire, three are targeted for murder. Between 1993 and 2002, CPJ research indicates that 366 journalists have been killed while conducting their work; of that total, 60 journalists, or 16 percent, died in crossfire, while 277 journalists, or 76 percent, were murdered in reprisal for their reporting. The remaining journalists were killed on the job in other situations, such as violent street demonstrations.”

From Part IV: Reporting in Hostile Areas: Minimizing Risks
"In some particularly dangerous conflicts, journalists have hired armed guards. The practice first became widespread among television crews and reporters covering Somalia in the early 1990’s after journalists traveling without armed guards were robbed at gunpoint. Journalists who use armed guards, however, should recognize that they may be jeopardizing their status as neutral observers."

From Part IV: Reporting in Hostile Areas: Battlefield Choices

"From at least the U.S. Civil War through the first two world wars, journalists who accompanied combatants were only able to file reports through military censors."

“Journalists briefly enjoyed more autonomy during the Korean War, although it was not until the Vietnam War that many correspondents were able to file without censorship."

Read more excerpts at

No comments: