Journalists Under Attack

Freedom of the Press is being threatened.


A photographer for the Getty Agency is one of the many reporters and cameramen arrested in Ferguson. Courtesy of Yahoo News.

Jaylin Paschal, Editor-in-Chief

As an aspiring journalist, the news of reporters being executed is absolutely sickening. A terrorist group referred to as ISIS is using the lives of reporters, specifically the lives of James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as tools to intimidate the group’s enemies.

As far as I’m concerned, anyone who murders a journalist is afraid and ashamed of the truth of their nature. These murderers are cowardly. They are aware of the power of media and will do anything to keep society in the dark. Taking the life of someone who aims to do nothing but spread and report information is cruel. It is so heartbreaking to know that all over the world, journalists are still being prosecuted.

Since 2013, more than 40 journalists have been murdered globally. These murders were often senseless, but sometimes they were a strategic attempt to intimidate enemies or send messages. This fact is terrifying and has made me even more appreciative of living in a country where freedoms of the press and speech are guaranteed rights. Not many American citizens recognize the dangers faced by journalists due to the fact that Americans are free to publish and report on whatever they want and are rarely targeted. However, with that being said, even journalists in America have been arrested and punished for doing their jobs.

Recently, in Ferguson, Missouri, reporters attempting to cover the story of the murder of Michael Brown and the protests following his death have been arrested. The Ferguson Police Department has gone to great lengths to prevent the media from capturing live footage. Police officers were hostile and rough with the reporters. They were shoved into police cruisers, pushed off of streets and forced into buildings. Journalists have been forced away by tear gas and once out of sight, their equipment and cameras were disassembled by police officers. The journalists that could not be forced to stop reporting were detained. American journalists were being treated as criminals.

Being a journalist is a job that often requires taking risks. A lot of the time, a reporter is writing a story that is controversial, scandalous or of great importance. Journalists travel to war zones, disaster areas and crime scenes. Unfortunately, it takes the public execution of American journalists to spark an increase of appreciation and protection of reporters.

Some may find it difficult to understand the magnitude of these injustices brought upon reporters. The situation can be difficult for teenagers, especially American teenagers, to relate to. However, we all need to keep in mind that the issue is not just about James Foley or Steven Sotloff. It’s not just about the protests in Ferguson. The issue is not just a problem for reporters. The issue is about all of us. It’s about protecting all of our rights and upholding all of our morals.

Journalists are integral part of society. Journalists provide us with the information we need in order to have citizens make educated and safe decisions. Journalism is important, and the world will not be a safe or free place until reporters everywhere are not taking a risk by simply doing their job. It’s 2014 and journalists, even American journalists, are still being punished for reporting the news. We need to put an end to this and better protect the people that keep us informed.