“Bulgarian television reporter Viktoria Marinova has become the third journalist to be murdered in the European Union in the last year and the fourth since the start of 2017. The 30-year-old’s body was found dumped near the Danube River in the town of Ruse, northern Bulgaria, on Saturday. Police said she had been beaten, raped and strangled.”
This news report from USA Today spotlights the importance of journalists. If education liberates children to make choices and take advantage of opportunities society, then journalists liberate the society to live in freedom and openness. The American Press Institute defines its importance as “The purpose of journalism is thus to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.” In a time of fake news, the corruption of social media, and the dissemination of lies by those in power, the honest journalist is a bulwark for the ordinary citizen to enable our children to enjoy freedom as they grow into adulthood.
Here are some other journalists who have died to defend our right to honesty:
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb in October. She had worked on the so-called Panama Papers, leaked documents that revealed financial information about the offshore accounts of high-profile officials.
Slovakian investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his girlfriend were shot to death in February. Kuciak was investigating tax fraud.
Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall was murdered in Denmark last year by Danish inventor Pete Madsen. Wall was killed and mutilated after boarding Madsen’s submarine to do an interview.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has identified 44 journalists who have died in 2018 alone in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Central African Republic, Nicaragua, Mexico, USA, Slovakia, Brazil, Colombia, and India.
President Trump has called the mainstream media in 2018 “fake news, the enemy of the people, Our Country’s biggest enemy, unfair and vicious, and Total Corruption”, the Washington Post a “disgrace to journalism”, the New York Times “Failing and Corrupt”, CNN have “typically written false stories”, NBC news as “Sad”, ABC News “knowingly have a sick and biased AGENDA”, CBS News “should only be allowed to get awards for fiction”, MSNBC “a total joke”, the Wall Street Journal “Fake News”.
As teachers, we should admire the 4th Estate and hold up journalists of all political stripes for our students’ admiration – ensuring that journalism is understood as being as free from bias as possible, an objective seeker of truth, a fearless proponent of justice and democracy. Our children should know that freedom has been fought for and continues to be fought for in every news outlet, paper, tv station both local, regional and national.
Journalist Day is November 8th each year. If you’ve missed it, celebrate it with Thanksgiving!