Friday, May 4, 2007

Dessicated Journalists

Last year was the deadliest on record for journalists with over a hundred men and women dead, the world over. Investigations into the deaths have shown that a great many of these deaths were deliberate and premeditated murders. While a significant proportion were the result of collateral damage - attached to military units that fell under attack and the like - the fact that so many people were killed intentionally for reporting what they saw is frightening.

Unfortunately, it isn't surprising. Men in charge, on all sides of these conflicts, are all subject to public opinion, both directly and indirectly. The primary mission of a journalist is to ensure that his fellow citizens are informed and knowledgeable, so as to allow for the smooth flow of the democratic process; in that capacity, they hold immense power over the power-hungry politicos and the leaders of those countries which might become their targets. It is no surprise that when, every so often, a journalist comes upon information that could put either in a very bad situation, well... Those same power-hungry politicos and the people who may become their targets might find it convenient if that journalist were to suddenly... Er... Disappear.

This is, of course, as are most such actions, directly calculated to screw people out of their democratic prerogative.Which people are being screwed? Well, us, of course. We are being deliberately kept blind at a disturbingly high price. Unfortunately it isn't within our power to make this stop. This isn't a legislative matter and it isn't an administrative matter; what is happening to these journalists is immoral, illegal and downright wrong and the only thing we can do, as citizens of a free and safe western "democracy," is to thank them.

These brave men and women go into dangerous situations on an alarmingly regular basis so that we may remain safe and free and their job may just be as important and significant as any soldier, peacekeeper or officer's serving in the most volatile warzones. We owe them - well, the responsible ones - our freedom just as much as we do any veteran of any of the great wars.

It is shameful that our freedom should have to cost so much, but as they say: freedom isn't free. Sometimes we can only keep it by accepting the generosity of others.

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