Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Dead Journalists Should Make Headlines

49 journalists were murdered in 2015 – a lot more than the average of 33 per year from 1992-2014.  90% of the nearly 800 journalist murders in the past 23 years have gone unsolved, unprosecuted.  It is open season on those seeking to expose the truth, keep the rich and powerful honest, and protect the First Amendment.

The Committee to Protect Journalists notes that it’s not in the war zones that the majority of journalist deaths can be attributed.  Instead, the most dangerous occupation appears to be journalists covering politics.

We are fortunate, in the United States, to be a book writer, blogger, or journalist.  Few people are hunting those who write for a living here.  But just because it may be physically safer for one to be a journalist in the U.S. than in other parts of the world, doesn’t mean the job doesn’t come without challenges, risks, or threats.

Real journalism is under attack in many ways – financially, legally, politically, technologically – but when the media has to worry about real life and death circumstances it makes it very difficult to do the job it is taxed to do.   When our free press is compromised, our faith in the society that holds us together is compromised. Who else is keeping a check on the government, the rich and powerful, and the police?  Who else is paying attention to the forces that shape our lives?

It’s hard to believe, but being a journalist can be a risky occupation.  People with powerful interests don’t respect a free press any more than they respect the police and legal system.  They operate under their own self-interest rules, using money, threats, coercion, blackmail, and muscle to enact their wishes.

It’s actually amazing that the journalist murder rate isn’t higher.  You’d think if even one journalist was killed per country, there’d be an annual death toll of 200 worldwide.  Or if one was killed per state, there’d be 50 annually in the U.S.  So even though one murder in the world is one too many journalists killed, I’m amazed the toll is not higher than last year’s 49.  Warzones, gangs, organized crime, the police, the military and big business won’t let journalists get in the way of their corrupt, illegal or violent practices.  So it makes me wonder:  Are journalists doing something to avoid being killed on the job?

Perhaps better legal protections, technology and journalist training contribute to the death toll containment – or are journalists no longer the unbiased guardians of truth?  Are they becoming corrupt or avoiding certain stories out of fear?  Have journalists changed, no longer risking it all to get the big scoop?

Make no mistake, journalism is under attack.  We must stand tall and protect the people who protect us and the truth.  Journalists are the true soldiers in the war to protect society and human decency.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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