The Highest Price

“Killing the Messenger”

Journalism is crucial in modern society – we need to hear about these conflicts and events from abroad and in our own countries to make informed decisions. Armed conflicts are incredibly dangerous, and reporting on them is very hard to do without taking risks. They risk injury and tragically, death, to report on conflicts which could well change the future of international politics.

INSI, the International News Safety Institute, has recently released figures which show how many reporters have been killed in these conflict zones since the start of 2014 – which is only 6 months. 61 news reporters have been killed while working in that time, whereas last year 40 died in the same period. Along with conflict zones, there have been deaths in peace-time countries. Many of the reporters who were there were covering crime and corruption, according to INSI.

The biannual report is titled Killing the Messenger, and is designed to raise awareness about the risk reporters and their support staff go through in order to report news items from the most dangerous places in the world.

The country with the most deaths in the report was Ukraine (7), the only current conflict in Europe and the only country in Europe where journalists were killed while working. Iraq was next-worse, with 6 deaths. Terrorist attacks in the first few months of the year (which have increased since the reduction in foreign military combatants in the country) threatened the lives of journalists, but the surge of militants (mainly ISIL) from the north of the country now poses the biggest threat. Pakistan (where terror attacks are relatively common) and Syria were 3rd and 4th, with 5 deaths each. Afghanistan is next, with 4 deaths. The country is particularly unstable due to insurgency and the recent presidential elections. The Philippines saw 3 deaths – as did Honduras and the Central African Republic. The rest of the report can be found here

A US soldier scans the horizon in Afghanistan, 2011. There are currently around 50,000 NATO troops in the country, which is still experiencing terrorist attacks. 4 journalists have been killed there so far this year. (Flickr – Official US Navy Page)

Journalists put their lines on the line to provide us with an insight into global conflict zones. We shouldn’t take this insight lightly – it should get us to call up our politicians on the matter, and force them to condemn it internationally. Their deaths are a reminder that conflicts affect more than just the people who are fighting. And above all else, it should be yet another reason to stop the fighting before another civilian pays the highest price.

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