Thursday, August 21, 2014

Journalists, most of all freelancers, face increasing peril reporting conflicts, even at home in the US

Journalists, especially free-lancers, are increasingly becoming targets, even in the US, according to a New York Times story by Ravi Somaiya and Christine Haughney, on p. A8 of the New York Times today, Thursday, August 21, 2014, link here.Of course, the most obvious problems are occurring with “conflict reporting” overseas in areas of unrest, most visibly ISIS-controlled areas as well as in the Israel-Palestine conflict.  The article mentions not only James Foley (with a disclaimer online that is not certain where he was executed), but also Matthew Rosenberg (New York Times) ans Jason Rezaian (the Washington Post) as in peril.  The Committee to Protect Journalists (link) has a count of 1072 journalists killed since 1972.

Overseas, radical groups no longer need journalists to publicize their causes, as most of them have become proficient at creating and distributing media themselves.  The availability of self-publishing online without gatekeeping (including social media) sometimes has attracted radical elements with violent intentions as well as legitimate protests.

But the article expressed disappointment with the treatment of journalists by Police in Ferguson, Mo, with clearly illegal arrests.  And journalists mingling anonymously with protest crowds sometimes attract anger when noticed.  Protest groups often want only their causes shown, and not their violent behavior.   And some group members resent outsiders who don’t share their sense of collective victimhood. 

There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of difference between how “amateurs” and contract journalists are treated.  It does seem that the big news services seem able to protect their most visible reporters overseas. 

My "cf" ("Films on Major Threats to Freedom") review blog discusses "Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty", March 3, 2009.   

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