Sunday, August 27, 2006

when journalists are the news

Fox's Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were released Sunday. Thankfully they were in good health despite the agony of the past few days.

Wiig said in an interview: "My biggest concern really is that as a result of what happened to us foreign journalists will be discouraged from coming to tell the story and that would be a great tragedy for the people of Palestine," Wiig said. "You guys need us on the streets, and you need people to be aware of the story."

Can't say I would blame other journalists for being scared off.

In Africa, another foreign correspondent was held captive, though by a government rather than a splinter group. A Sudanese court charged Pulitzer-Prize winner Paul Salopek with espionage and writing 'false news.' His driver and interpreter faced the same charges--though I wonder how the driver is culpable for publishing false information. Given that they were covering the Darfur crisis for National Geographic, the government of Sudan should understandably be concerned. If only they were as concerned about stopping the violence and corruption within their own country, perhaps they would be less paranoid about international reporters.

Most everyone would agree that reporters undoubtedly shape the stories they tell. Even the best documentary filmmaker or the most rookie local beat reporter influences the outcome of events that are covered. It's the nature of news. Still, journalists are not supposed to be the subjects of front page stories. At least we live in a society that calls international attention to reporters being threatened by political groups.

I wonder how old this phenomenon is and how it has influenced history.


Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

People gotta go there to tell the stories, that's the danger of truth and it's a danger many brave men and women are willing to face.

12:34 PM  

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