The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

The student news site of Highlands High School

The Hilltopper

Journalist Being Held Captive

Photo provided by unsplash.

The field of communications is an extraordinarily vital, yet in this time, dangerous one. The number of foreign correspondents being imprisoned and held captive by the country they are sent to report on has taken a swift increase since the year 2022. 

NEW YORK (AP News): “An estimated 320 journalists around the world were imprisoned because of their work toward the end of 2023, according to a report issued Thursday (January 18) by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which called it a disturbing attempt to smother independent voices.”

When Ukraine was first under attack by Russia, the Israel-Hamas war was just in its beginning stages, as a result of continually worsening affairs with the Russian Federation or Kremlin. 

AP News said it’s all due to one fear within authoritative figures; strong journalistic powers encroaching on their authority. 

“Our research shows how entrenched authoritarianism is globally, with governments emboldened to stamp out critical reporting and prevent public accountability,” said Jodie Ginsberg, the committee’s chief executive officer. 

When approached by the Hilltopper on this topic, Paige Barnes, reporter of Local12 News, said: “it’s not just these authoritative figures that add to fearing foreign journalists, however.” 

She adds that social media like TikTok and others are taking away the job of local journalists, smaller news stations and agencies are at a risk due to this, as opposed to demonstrably larger National news stations that don’t feel this threat. As well, these social media sources are not always accurate and can sometimes spread false information to the greater public.

She ends by stating that she fears mostly for journalists of other nationalities, not American journalists–those that don’t have access to the same protective laws as in the U.S. 

“The truth is scary and ugly…for this reason, I worry more and more people will be scared to report overseas. I also worry that because the world is so multicultural, people won’t be able to report fairly.”  

“Foreign journalists are some of the most selfless people I know…don’t fear for my life when I write a story someone doesn’t like. As long as it’s accurate (and I obtained it ethically), I know I’m protected by U.S. laws. Other countries can’t say the same for their journalists.”

But despite these protective U.S laws, there are still cases of American captive reporters. Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal is currently behind bars in Lefortovo, Russia. Aasif Sultan, Sajad Gul, are just a couple reporters held against their will in different countries.

Though it can be said that the U.S has somewhat of a protective barrier, this delicate communicative job is still one of much uncertainty in this time and unsafety, nonetheless is a factor at play.

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