Sunday, January 12, 2014

More and More Journalists Caught in Crossfire in Syrian Conflict

By Rabin Man Shakya

The ongoing conflict and civil war in Syria has directly affected the journalists: international correspondents as well as Syrian reporters. More and more journalists, both Syrian and foreign, have been killed or abducted while  they were caught in the crossfire.

News reporting is an essential function of the media organizations like newspapers, news agencies, radio, TV networks, bloggers and digital journalism etc. Covering the conflicts and war reporting are full of serious hazards. More often than not, explosions, shootings and crossfires greet the reporters. Besides, a number of journalists have been abducted and then killed by the insurgents as well as government forces. Familiar with all these occupational hazards, journalists take calculated risks everyday to report the news from the conflict-zones. Too often, they pay with their lives.

More than 700 journalists and reporters have been killed, while reporting in the conflict as well as non-conflict circumstances across the world in the last ten, eleven years. Fatal assaults against the media personnel continue unabated.

The lingering Syrian conflict has taken a colossal toll on human lives exceeding 100,000 deaths. The number of journalists being killed or abducted by the rebels, jihadists and government forces is ever on the rise.

The civil war in Syria has become, for reporters, one of the most challenging and dangerous assignments in many years with at least 30 having died while covering the civil war that kicked off there about three years ago.

According to a Wall Street Journal news story datelined Beirut, January 9, 2014, "The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York based nonprofit dedicated to press freedom, said that some 30 Western and Syrian reporters were missing in Syria and were being held by rebels or criminal gangs. An additional 12 journalists are in government jails, the group said."

Journalism, there is no doubt, is one of the most dangerous professions in the world because journalists and reporters have to work at some of the most volatile places of the world.

I wonder what could have happened to some of my Syrian journalists-friends who were together with me in Minsk, the capital of Belorussia. I am an Alma-Mater of the Faculty of Journalism at the Belorussian State University in the 1980s. I was familiar with, at least, six journalism students from Syria at that time.

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