July 27, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.
Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.
From Kabul to Cairo, the Killing and Jailing of Journalists Continues
Posted on Apr 9, 2014
By Amy Goodman
Journalism is not a crime. This is the rallying cry in demanding the release of four Al-Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt. Three of them - Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed - have just passed their hundredth day of incarceration. The fourth, Abdullah al-Shami, has been in jail for more than six months. They have been charged with “spreading lies harmful to state security and joining a terrorist organization.” Of course, the only thing they were doing was their job.
Square, Story page, 2nd paragraph, mobile
Niedringhaus’ work captured the brutality of war, and the hope of humanity. She began her career as a teenager, photographing the fall of the Berlin Wall in her native Germany. She went on to work for the European Pressphoto Agency, where she covered the war in the Balkans, the aftermath of Sept. 11 in New York City, and then on to the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. In 2002, she moved on to the AP, where she covered Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as major international sporting events like the World Cup and Wimbledon. When scrolling through the images of our times that she left behind, you are struck by the courage, the talent and the ability to capture and transmit an instant in time charged with the full weight of history.
Niedringhaus is one of too many journalists killed while performing a critical public service: journalism.
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya wrote, in 2003, “Is journalism worth dying for?” She was reporting on the attempted murder of a colleague at the fiercely independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. She wrote: “If the price of truth is so high, perhaps we should just stop, and find a profession with less risk of ‘major unpleasantness.’ How much would society, for whose sake we are doing this work, care?” Politkovskaya answered her rhetorical question through action, by continuing to cover power in Russia, especially the presidency of Vladimir Putin. She was murdered three years later, on Oct. 7, 2006. Her killing had the hallmarks of a contract killing, as have the murders of other journalists in Russia.
Square, Site wide, Desktop
Square, Site wide, Mobile
This week also marks the anniversary of the violent deaths of two reporters in Iraq, Jose Couso of the Spanish television channel Telecinco, and Taras Protsyuk, a Ukrainian cameraman reporting for Reuters. On April 8, 2003, they were filming the U.S. invasion of Baghdad from their balconies at The Palestine Hotel, well-known to be where the world’s press corps was staying. A U.S. Army tank fired a round at the hotel, killing the two journalists and injuring others. When the Spanish prime minister at the time, Jose Maria Aznar, who supported the invasion, next spoke to the Spanish press in Parliament, they laid down their cameras and microphones, and turned their backs on him in protest of their colleague’s death. Many then blocked the intersection outside the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, chanting “Murderer! Murderer!” The U.S. military crew of the tank that killed Couso and Protsyuk are known, but the U.S. has not cooperated in Spanish attempts to prosecute them. This week, like every year on the anniversary of Couso’s death, his family and supporters protest outside the U.S. embassy.
In 2011, Anja Niedringhaus wrote to The New York Times: “I don’t believe conflicts have changed since 9/11 other than to become more frequent and protracted, but the essence of the conflict is the same - two sides fighting for territory, for power, for ideologies. And in the middle is the population who is suffering.” Journalists are there to report that suffering. Shooting the messenger is a war crime.
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,200 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “The Silenced Majority,” a New York Times best-seller.
© 2014 Amy Goodman
Distributed by King Features Syndicate
Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:
New and Improved Comments
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide