by Rick Bretz
We’ve all seen the movie “Marathon Man” when Dustin Hoffman’s character is repeatedly asked, “Is it safe?”. Lawrence Olivier not getting an answer then sadistically digs into Hoffman’s teeth as a form of torture.
Today, professionals working in the journalism and broadcasting fields have to ask themselves, “is it safe?”, before venturing into dangerous areas of the world where hate, revenge and conflict rule the day. The job has always had its inherent dangers with the threat of prison sentences, injury, assassination and outright murder before every interview or timely picture.
The brutal murders of media professionals James Foley and Steven Sotloff in the last few weeks by ISIS, a terrorist organization without any morals or a modicum of decency, has answered that question for many in the profession.
The ISIS cowards have gone as low as to behead British hostage David Haines, an aid worker trying to help others in a war-torn part of the world. British Prime Minister David Cameron called it an “Act of pure evil.” I have other words but I won’t use them in this article.
Journalists and broadcasters write history’s rough draft for authors to analyze and research later. I love history and I don’t like people who try to suppress the information writers might use later. People who harass, kill, maim or intimidate journalists, videographers, photographers or broadcasters contribute to man’s inhumanity towards man in perpetuity.
There’s a difference between media professionals being captured and killed purposely for an organization’s propaganda purposes as opposed to a journalist being killed in the line of getting the story. One is an accepted risk while the other is just pure calculated murder for propaganda reasons and to show the world how brutal one can be. In reality terrorists are just plain old cowards who would rather make the world a darker place rather than an enlightened one. What courage does it take to kill someone kneeling with their hands tied behind their back?
I’ll answer that, none whatsoever, not an ounce. The person kneeling before the terrorist has the courage.
Have you ever watched a film or tape from the prohibition era, of war atrocities, or someone fighting racial inequality? If you have, you must realize someone had to be in harm’s way to capture that moment in time so a student or government representative could learn from it. Someone has to be on the other side of the lens to get it to the audience watching and reading safely in their homes.
The danger that media professionals have had to endure has been around a long time. If there’s a story, a person has been there to tell it. That’s why we have history.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is a website that exists to monitor media professionals and how many have given their lives so we can understand what is happening throughout the world.
Their website is:
These are statistics on those killed.
More people should read this website and find out about the latest information.
These courageous journalists and broadcasters have understood one truth, If evil, death, intimidation and fear hide behind a curtain, then nothing will change. Their words and pictures shine a light on these issues and force the world to wake up. Their lives will not go unnoticed.