Risky Responsibility

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"I am hiding. Death has come."

These are the last words spoken by BBC journalist Ahmad Omed Khpulwak in a text message to his brother before he was killed by a United States' soldier in Afghanistan this past July. Khpulwak was one of 19 people to die in a fight that erupted between American forces and the Taliban after an attack on an Afghan television station.

Determined journalists travel abroad every year, risking their lives in countries plagued by war and destruction, but are getting these stories worth risking it all?

Khpulwak was only one tragic example, but journalists put themselves in the way of danger all the time. Seventy journalists were killed around the world in 2009, the highest death toll recorded in the last 30 years. War, hurricanes, gang violence, prisons, and drugs are just some of the frequent risks journalists take.

Many may doubt the sanity of journalists willing to cover dangerous situations, but these reporters simply believe that getting the story is worth it. A story means gaining a new knowledge that can be shared with the world that without the dedication of journalists would remain unknown. This knowledge gives journalists the power to influence decisions made around the world and provides a strong check on government. Journalists with the passion for truth and the longing to teach others are willing to undergo danger to share their story, their knowledge, and their influence. To all journalists who have died in pursuit of truth, may they be honored with our full respect and gratitude.

Photo Credit: Senior Airman Steve Czyz


RCastenson September 20, 2011 at 6:09 PM  

Jobs take a lot of risk. Sacrificing for your family, missing kids events, or getting home late at night are all negatives in jobs. People should know and accept their responsibility but should you be responsible to put yourself on the line for your life. I believe journalists and politicians should not put their lives at risk in high crime situations or a war zone. Life can go on without full coverage of events happening in war zones or high crime situations but life can't go on if you simply lose yours. People are valuable and not something you can just buy again. Sometiems you neede to think of yourself and your family before making a decision to cover war zones and high crime scenes.

SarinaRhinehart September 20, 2011 at 6:42 PM  

My friend’s brother is a journalist over in Sudan. Although it is dangerous, he says he loves his job and would never chance it. His wife is also a journalist in Sudan so they understand the risks that they are both taking. This job is definitely not for everyone! It requires passion, perseverance, and skill.

Jessalyn Holdcraft September 20, 2011 at 7:28 PM  

I think this raises an interesting question about whether journalists are willing to die for their jobs. I think that war correspondents are needed but at what cost? I don't know if a career would be worth my life.

Mike Tweeton September 25, 2011 at 2:19 PM  

This is a great post. It raises not only the question of "What will a reporter risk to gain a good story" but more importantly "How far will society encourage and/or push journalists to give us truth from its point of origin." Where does the drive for these reportesr come from? Are they what some would call crazy? I like to think it is extreme devotion to the ideals of journalism.

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