Everyday, we receive breaking news. From the latest scandal at the White House to the most recent government official caught up in the Latin American corruption wave, we owe our knowledge of these events to the journalists that work day in and day out to investigate, write and release this news.
A life dedicated to uncovering the truth and informing the public, a journalist’s job often involves risking her or his life to cover wars, crime, violence, and corruption. But in recent years the wave of anti-media sentiment and the increase of violence against journalists has grown. Last Monday was the deadliest day for journalists since the attack at the Charlie Hebdo office in 2015. Nine journalists were killed in suicide bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan, and a tenth Afghan journalist was killed in a shooting.
In Ecuador, two journalists and their driver were also murdered after being taken hostage by a dissident FARC group in a town near the dangerous Ecuadorean-Colombian border. More recently, two other people were kidnapped by the same dissident group in the same area.
But attacks on the media go beyond attacks from rebel groups. Although newly appointed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says press freedom is “an essential pillar of democracy,” some democratic governments seem to have forgotten. Take the Mexican government’s use of advanced spyware intended only to be used on criminals and terrorists but used to spy on human rights lawyers and prominent journalists covering the 2014 disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, Mexico; or President Donald Trump and his endless twitter rants discrediting the media and labeling it “fake news.” These attacks are dangerous to the credibility and the lives of journalists who work to create an informed public that is aware of not only what is happening around them, but help hold governments and public officials accountable.