Szerelem pointed me to a link today, about the number of journalists in the Caucasus that have been killed for one reason or another - political rivalries, whistle blowing, or even just standing up for what should be a free press. A total of 31. Since 2000 - a mere 7 year span. An average of 4 people losing their lives due to the whims and fancies of others, in the pursuit of duty. Civilians, to boot. And this figure doesn't even include those who were roughed up, threatened, or just disappeared before publishing their exposés.
One of the things which struck me was how the author of the article above found it extremely tough to put a picture to each name (he couldn't manage it in two instances). And to be honest, apart from the infamous Politkovskaya murder which received wide press coverage due to her criticisms of the Putin's government, I haven't heard about any of the others in any mainstream media. Does that mean these lives were lost in vain?
I looked up some numbers, courtesy of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the International News Safety Institute, and they're rather startling..
The Top 21 bloodiest countries over the past 10 years have been Iraq (138), Russia (88), Colombia (72), Philippines (55), Iran (54), India (45), Algeria (32), the former republic of Yugoslavia (32), Mexico (31), Pakistan (29), Brazil (27), USA (21), Bangladesh (19), Ukraine (17), Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone & Sri Lanka (16), Afghanistan, Indonesia & Thailand (13). Iran’s figures were swollen by one air accident in December 2005. A military aircraft carrying news teams to cover exercises in the Gulf crashed in Tehran, killing 48 journalists and media technicians aboard.As an aside, this puts India at 6th place in being one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. An eye opener of a statistic if there ever was one for the world's largest, and fastest growing democracy. Which brings us to the question of why they were killed in the first place. According to the CPJ,
Full coverage of the article is here. There's no one reason for all the senseless killings - and no pattern which can probably be detected without the help of machine learning mechanisms.
They either died in the line of duty or were deliberately targeted for assassination because of their reporting or their affiliation with a news organization.
Will people one day aspire to thought processes which do NOT involve eliminating potential threats from the arena in order (mostly) to make more money? or is that being naively idealistic?