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Free the Press Day – it came and went…

May 5, 2011

Allah Noor

In all the drowning of words that inundate us on a daily basis – the blogs and the Facebook pages; the tweets and the emails and the texting – it becomes quite easy for us here in cozy-safe Canada to forget that journalists are getting killed around the world for the simple reason of trying to bring the truth to their audience.

In all the hub-bub that was our election, lost in the endless rounds of hockey playoffs, and distracted by the final countdowns on American Idol and The Biggest Loser, most of us missed the fact that Tuesday was World Press Freedom Day.

More than 40 journalists were killed last year around the world: Carlos Romero, a crime reporter in Mexico was shot more than 20 times by the Mexican military, who claimed Romero got caught in a crossfire with drug smugglers. Pakistani journalist Allah Noor was killed and two other journalists were wounded when they were attacked by armed men after covering the arrest of muslim militants. Ardiansyah Matra’is and Muhammad Syaifullah were executed for covering environmental destruction issues in Indonesia and Borneo.

And there has been an increasing trend over the past decade to assassinate reporters who cover politics, government corruption, the environment, and war.

 We know that in Canada we are so overwhelmed with “free” press babble that we disregard 90% of what is reported. Our free-press society has led to farcical journalism such as the National Enquirer and Sun TV. And to the corporate manipulation of information to maintain a vacuous consumer society. News as entertainment.

But take a few minutes today to consider the places in the world where journalists are still executed for trying to report the events of the day, reveal corruption, expose poverty, demand environmental justice, and human rights.

It’s too easy for us to sit back in our post-modern ironic poses of indifference and think that nothing is anymore real. To think that to-be-involved in a cause, a march, or an idea is too passé. But as we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Colombia, Pakistan, Mexico and Syria – people are willing to protest and to fight and, if necessary, to die for their human rights and for social justice.

So to the journalists who die, give pause to reflect on that idea – that people are killed for bringing the truth – and know that despite much of the media circus we have to navigate through here on a daily basis, the truth still matters in many places in the world. And know that people are still killed, just for trying to talk about it. 

————————————————————————————————————————————————-Deadliest Countries in 2010

  1. Pakistan: 8
  2. Iraq: 5
  3. Honduras: 3
  4. Mexico: 3
  5. Indonesia: 3
  6. Somalia: 2
  7. Thailand: 2
  1. Nigeria: 2
  2. Angola: 2
  3. Afghanistan: 2
  4. Philippines: 2
  5. Cameroon: 1
  6. Belarus: 1
  7. India: 1
  1. Yemen: 1
  2. Uganda: 1
  3. Greece: 1
  4. Brazil: 1
  5. Lebanon: 1
  6. Rwanda: 1

Committee to Protect Journalists (

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 5, 2011 12:48 pm

    Well done Sherwood. A heartfelt and passionate plea we should all think on carefully.

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