Friday, December 23, 2016

Please pause to remember the brave

As we approach Christmas and the New Year it is worth pausing to remember those who have not made it through 2016, simply through doing their duty.

According to the latest analysis, 48 journalists have been killed either while working or because of their work.

These are people who have risked their lives usually so that the world may really know what is going on - in dangerspots or dangerous places.

What we do in this business is safe - much of it from the office and certainly in safe  venues. I once knew a reporter who subjected himself to an eye procedure at the hands of a Russian surgeon. The doctor was using razor blades to cure poor eye-sight - a procedure that is now performed by laser. But in general medical reporters do not put ourselves in danger.

Not so those journalists who report from war zones or seek to expose corrupt and rotten regimes.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 2016 may not have been as dangerous as 2015. It knows of 48 deaths and is investigating at least 27 more that may have been work-related.  26 deaths have been recorded in the war zones of Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Afghanistan, and Somalia. 18 were murdered directly for their reporting.

Among the people we write about - doctors, nurses and other health professionals - there are also many who have put their lives at risk in war zones or in regions devastated by disease. The Syrian conflict has seen the added horror of medical facilities being targeted directly. Others have been caught in the cross fire as they insist on caring for the sick and wounded.

Please pause to remember them.