Journalists Face Many Dangers – Coyote Student News at the College of Southern Nevada
By Yazmin Beltran
Journalism is a dangerous job for many in the profession.
The United Nations has called journalism one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. A report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization highlights that while casualties linked to countries in the throes of armed conflict have declined, fatal attacks on journalists covering stories about corruption, human rights violations, environmental crimes, trafficking and political misdeeds have increased in other countries.
“Journalists shine light in dark places, expose injustice, give voice to the voiceless, among other things,” said Jennifer Mitchell, a journalism professor at the College of Southern Nevada. “It deeply upsets those in power who do not want their secrets exposed. Journalists are on the front line to tell the truth. Some don’t want the truth to come out.
A new report released by the Committee to Protect Journalists highlights the continuing trend of unaddressed killings of journalists. The report titled “CPJ’s 2022 Global Impunity Index” highlights facts and figures on the number of journalists killed over the past 10 years. In nearly 80% of the 263 cases of journalists murdered in retaliation for their work around the world over the past decade, the perpetrators have not been punished. So far in 2022, more than 60 journalists and media workers have been killed around the world.
According to CPJ, Mexico is one of the most flagrant cases. CPJ has documented 28 unsolved journalist murders there over the past 10 years – the most of any country on the Index and the most dangerous for journalists in the Western Hemisphere. At least 13 journalists have been killed in Mexico this year. At least three of these journalists were murdered in direct retaliation for their reporting on crime and political corruption.
According to Craig LaMay, a journalism professor at Northwestern University, while journalists are relatively safe in the United States, there are other parts of the world where journalism is criminalized. “Mexico is ground zero for journalism. It is a dangerous profession because there, it is not only the government but important private powers often aligned with the government who indulge in violence against journalists.
CSN journalism professor Jeff Hein agrees with the UN report and attributes another factor that may contribute to violence against journalists in the United States. “I think journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in the world because so many countries don’t allow free speech like we do in the United States. I also believe it is increasingly dangerous in the United States due to our unstable political environment combined with public access to social media.
Journalism matters, Mitchell said. “If there hadn’t been the journalists, what would we know? Think about it. What would you know about Ukraine, Russia and Washington DC? It is thanks to the brave people who go there to do the work of journalism in the service of the public.
“I work to instill the high calling of journalism,” Mitchell added. “I want my students to do their work well with accuracy, transparency, verifiability, primary sources, big facts, context, discussion and write it well. I hope they will be the best in the profession serving the public and I hope they will never forget that their allegiance is to the people.
The American Press Institute wrote that the more democratic a society, the more news and information it tends to have. Uncovering great stories can cost a journalist his life, but journalists have a duty to inform.