War Journalism: The Government Must Take Action

Ashlesha Mishra, Copy Editor

Over the years, journalism has improved significantly; news apps and many editorial platforms are available at people’s fingertips. However, gathering and compiling the content to present is an enormous effort that is often overlooked, especially when it covers war-zones. War journalism is an extremely dangerous job and should be a high priority focus for governments in regards to giving protection.

In the past few months, several journalists have lost their lives on duty. An article by Business Insider states, “At least five journalists have been killed while covering the war in Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on February 24, according to the official tally kept by the Committee to Protect Journalists… Other journalists have also been injured, gone missing, or been detained.” The reporters received very little protection as they entered the war zones and their lives were at full risks. If the government does not give these reporters the proper gear and assistance to do their job, the number of people in the profession may reduce due to the increasing amounts of deaths.

Recently, the slogan #JusticeForShireen was popularly circulated on many social media platforms following the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who covered the human rights abuses in Palestinian land. An article by The Guardian states, “Abu Aqleh was far more than a journalist, far more than a household name. Even “icon” doesn’t capture her. She was a documentarian of displacement, a voice for Palestinians, a symbol of Palestine. She was a constant reminder that Palestinians are not an abstract philosophical concept whose existence is up for debate, but human beings deserving of dignity. For diaspora Palestinians, she was a lifeline. And now she is gone.” Abu Akleh was a precious asset to the Palestinains and for someone who stood for so many righteous ideas, she deserved the necessary protection as she went out into the war vicinity to capture the devastating conditions there.

War journalism, regardless of the dangers it brings, is necessary to keep account for future generations and to see and record the diverse stories of people at the time. A New York Times article states, “Ms. Addario has been in Ukraine since February, capturing the devastation of war. She is the photographer behind one of the most recognizable images of the conflict: one that shows four people — a woman, a man and two children — lying on the ground, their suitcases beside them. They had been trying to evacuate across a bridge in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, and were killed by Russian mortar fire.” However, the government must find a safer way to do this which would not cause harm to any of the journalists and still fulfill its goals. Surprise attacks can catch journalists off guard and create panic and chaos. In addition to protections, the government must give these journalists protocol to follow when they are trapped in this kind of situation instead of leaving it to them to figure out. The article adds, “Generally, as a photographer in a conflict zone, we hear an explosion and rush toward it to document the aftermath. In Irpin, the real difference was that I was present for the attack, and so I was in a bit of shock and also survival mode. I had just narrowly escaped death myself. In those moments, I try to stay focused, but I also have to remind myself what I need to be doing. It’s partly instinctual, but it’s also partly that you have to snap back into the present.” Countless journalists like Abu Akleh have lost their lives while collecting stories to share around the world, but the deaths need to stop now. The government must take quick action to train the journalists that are in war zones to safely collect content and know how to respond when they are in danger.