Should “risking one´s life” be a premise for becoming a journalist?
On the 7th of December 2012 one of the leading columnists Diing Chan Awuol , working in the South of Sudan was shot in front of his house in Sudan´s capital Juba. He was an employee at the news paper Sudan Tribune and contributed with comments on the website Gurtong. Awuol was known for his dedication to press freedom in Sudan and had recently published an article revisiting his attempt for peace between Sudan and South Sudan. He was killed for the attempt to realize this vision.
A lot of encouragements in fighting government’s oppression have shown communication students in Chile. The freedom of press index has ranked Chile on rank 80, which is 47 ranks worse than last time. The Austrian Reporter for the Standard states “The current situation in Chile is worse than under Pinochet’s dictatorship.” The major cause for this negative development is known as the “Hinzpeter-law”, which punishes participants in violent demonstrations or occupations with 3 years of prison. Due to high national and international criticism, the law was declared as being partially abolished. However, the law still motivates journalists to gather information about participants in demonstrations in order to sell them for a monetary subsidy.
Worldwide, 79 journalists were murdered since the beginning of the year 2013. According to reporters without borders 147 journalists are currently imprisoned. How far should a journalist can go in order to discover the truth and fight against the pressure of governments?
The international renowned Honduran journalist Dina Meza is not going to cease with her job, even if she is threatened to be raped and constantly observed by her enemies. She indentifies it as her duty to raise awareness for the corruption on governmental level in her country. However, it is a hard job, as the most important media companies are owned by the dominant clan. In Honduras, censorship prevails within media. Meza wants to revolt against this state of affairs by continuing with her critical reports. “It is the victims of the regime, and the numerous amounts of human rights violations that give me the power to go on.” Dina Meza states when asking her about her persistence to continue with her work as a reliable journalist. Not even the rejection of police surveillance for herself and her family will stop her from informing the public about the truth.
Diing Chan Awuol and Dina Meza certainly show civil courage. They risk their lives in order to improve the world and to establish a fair environment not governed by corruption and illegal deals. How far should they go? Do you think it is worth the price they pay?
Author: Viktoria Arnold