Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two More Journalists Killed On Duty

American war correspondent Marie Colvin working for the U.K.'s Sunday Times newspaper and French photojournalist Remi Ochlik were covering the Syrian governments attack on the civilians living in the Baba Amr district of Homs when the house they were sheltering in was shelled by the military. Witnesses said that as the journalists and their party fled the house the Syrian government fired a rocket at the group, killing them all.

Colvin and Ochlik were victims of the same government massacre they had been covering. This is hardly the first time a journalist has been killed while covering a war zone. There is obvious inherent danger for any war correspondent, especially when they are working the front lines, inside an area where there is little government control, or where the government is the aggressor (which appears to be what is happening right now in Syria.)

Despite the fact that covering a war zone is a risk to their life, journalists go there because that's where the story is. There simply is no better way to know what is happening in a war zone than to go there and witness it for yourself. These journalists were doing just that because they believed the true story of what was happening there was not being adequately reported by the Syrian government.

Each of them had previously reported that the Syrian government was mercilessly bombarding civilians; using snipers to shoot people in the street and bombing neighborhoods and homes indiscriminately. They knew they were entering a dangerous arena where there would be no 'safe ground' for them.

They knew the risks before they set one foot inside the border, but they went any way because a journalist understands that the role they play on the stage of life is among the most important. Information is crucial in order for anyone to make a correct decision. How do we know what is happening in Syria if nobody tells us? How do we know who needs help if we cannot see for ourselves? How can we rely on either side of the conflict to supply us with an unbiased view of events when they are actively engaged in battle with each other?

Journalists supply us with an unvarnished view of events in the world around us so we can have a better understanding of what is happening, and what, if any, our role should be. In their eyes this information is worth the risks they take, and the price they too often pay.

I hope that anyone who reads their reports, or the reports from any journalist stationed in a dangerous place, appreciates the true cost of that information.

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