by Tamara Moumna
”Up to sixty Shia Muslims have been killed in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian town of Hatla”, writes freelance reporter Fernande van Tets for the Independent in June 2013. When reading these news or seeing reporters in areas of political, economic, and military instability on TV we tend to focus upon the devastating side of the conflicts. We often consider the information correspondents like Fernande van Tets provide us without considering the hardships connected to getting this type of information. I am currently sitting at home, having a cup of coffee with some biscuits whilst the reporters in areas of instability are in danger of being killed, arrested, or kidnaped for just doing their job.
Idealism in the field of Journalism
Photo courtesy: McCann Erickson, Reporters without Borders
Try to imagine the drive behind these journalists. If you really think about it you may come to the conclusion that it is absolute madness. Foreign ministries are sending out warnings not to travel in the Middle East due to the instable situation. Yet, the media would not be able to provide us with news about the most recent events in Syria, Egypt or anywhere else in the world, if it were not for their correspondents in the respective countries. As the public, we heavily rely on these correspondents in high-risk areas. Many of them are freelance reporters, earning something around 50€ per article – an article that could potentially cost their lives. Take Syria as an example. In 2012, it was the deadliest country for journalists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 28 journalists have been killed in 2012 in Syria and currently 15 Journalists are missing within the country.
It is hard for outsiders to imagine why people would be willing to risk their lives for a 50 € bill. It’s beyond doubt that money is not what matters to them. Reporters in these areas are risking their life in order to inform about injustice, corruption and crime in areas of tremendous conflict. This is the tip of the iceberg of idealistic journalism. They often argue that it is their duty to inform the public. Many say that the world needs to know what is going on and if they are not the ones to tell us, who is? This is my own personal “thank you” to all reporters, photographers and correspondents for risking their lives in order to inform about the horrors of war and crisis.