6 Jul 2007

Freedom of speech & the search for the ultimate truth.

Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza whilst reporting for the BBC News organization and held captive for 114 days - he is now thankfully free. One of his first instincts when released was to highlight the plight of fellow journalists around the world.

The BBC understandably covered this resolution to the story extensively and as a consequence much media interest in the UK is focusing on Alans welcome release.

Alan Johnston has also been awarded an Amnesty Media Award for his reporting of the situation in Gaza for the BBC dueing 2o06/7.

At this happy time, it is easy to forget the extent to which many other journalists suffer to bring us the truth.

In May each year there is a World Press Freedom Day. The following is harvested from the UNESCO website highlighting the 2007 event.

'The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Barometer proves that countries involved in violent conflict are dangerous places for media professionals – with 37 journalists killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2006, 3 in Sri Lanka and Colombia, 2 in Afghanistan. But also the figures from countries like Mexico (7 deaths), Russia (3) the Philippines (2) and China (2) show that the lives of journalists are threatened even in states that do not have discernible war zones.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently published details about 580 journalists that were killed in the line of duty worldwide between January 1992 and August 2006.

According to this data, 71,4% were murdered, 18,4% died in crossfire or in combat-related circumstances and 10% during other dangerous assignments. Print reporters face the greatest risk of death, except in few parts of the world like the Philippines and India where radio journalists and TV reporters have a higher risk of being killed.

137 journalists and media staff have been killed since the beginning of the Iraq war, which is the deadliest conflict for media professionals since the Second World War. '

The full article can be viewed here.

Click on the image above to view the list of murdered journalists.

'From the viewpoint of absolute truth, what we feel and experience in our ordinary daily life is all delusion. Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness for both sides. If we can realize and meditate on ultimate truth, it will cleanse our impurities of mind and thus eradicate the sense of discrimination. This will help to create true love for one another. The search for ultimate truth is, therefore, vitally important.' Dalai Lama