Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Journalists Who Give Their Lives in Pursuit of the Story

Ross Howard discusses what it takes to be a journalist in the midst of conflict of Somalia here in an essay exclusive to the Globe and Mail online. He says in part, "What goes unappreciated in the West is how many journalists elsewhere are denied the ordinary freedoms Western media has enjoyed. With corrupt judges and licensing, intimidated regulators and partisan police, the possibilities of retaliation against fair and balanced reporting are endless. With media owners on political, military or gangster payrolls, the job security for impartial reporters is tenuous. There are neither journalists' unions nor civil and criminal laws, let alone political commitment, strong enough to protect even the basics of journalism. In places where I've trained, we inevitably end up discussing this. And yet, in my experience, even in these dire environments, there are journalists who want to sneak balanced reporting into their copy or programming; to make their work a public service rather than political or extremist or purely corporate propaganda. Several of the nearly two-dozen Somali journalists I trained in June (in nearby, safer Djibouti), on behalf of the Danish NGO International Media Support, reminded me of Mahad Ahmed Elmi. They were keen, albeit war-weary. They wanted more training and more handbooks. They believed their work would make a difference, that one day Somalia would recover peace."

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