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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/8/08

While NCMR Meets: Second BBC Reporter Killed in Media's "Horrifying Weekend"

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The National Conference for Media Reform spent three days in Minneapolis, Minnesota this weekend discussing how to best use the Internet to counter Big Media, while freelance reporters were gunned down in Afghanistan and Somalia. It is impossible to get the story in these regions without working in country. The blogosphere will never replace the hard work of investigative journalists. This issue was not adequately addressed at the NCMR conference, and remains the “elephant in the room” when discussing community blogging and citizen journalism. Without some way of funding the high costs of real investigative journalism, the Internet will become nothing more than a repository for the pandering pundits of opinion, and like the naked emperor, have no one able to speak for truth.

Two journalists lost their lives this weekend in the service of truth in the Mideast and Afghanistan. They, along with murdered Congolese journalist Serge Maheshe and over 200 others in the last year must not be forgotten, nor their sacrifices dismissed.

Here is the IFJ Press Release, with some additions:

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says that the abduction and murder of a local journalist working for the BBC in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province is the latest in a series of media tragedies that underscores the need for comprehensive international action to confront the global crisis of violence against independent reporters.

Abdul Samad Rohani was kidnapped on Saturday and his body was found on Sunday afternoon in Lashkar Gah. Also on Saturday a leading journalist in Somalia was killed in another targeted shooting.

"It has been a horrifying weekend for journalists," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "Two dedicated and courageous colleagues have been struck down doing their duty in the world's most troubled regions. Their deaths must inspire us to practical action to help protect journalists."

The IFJ sent a message of condolence to the BBC and Rohani's family and colleages. It was the second death of a BBC reporter over the weekend following the targeted shooting of Nasteh Dahir in Somalia (see here). The IFJ has strongly backed the protest of the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) after Farah was gunned down by gunmen in the southern town of Kismayu

The BBC said that Rohani worked with the BBC Kabul bureau and was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand where there has been considerable violence by Taliban insurgents. He is the fourth journalist to die in Afghanistan in the past year.

"We must find these killers and bring them to justice," said Boumelha.

On Monday the IFJ was joining journalists' leaders and government representatives at the headquarters of UNESCO in Paris to discuss a five-year global programme developed by the International News Safety Institute to improve protection for journalists.

For further information contact the IFJ at +32 478258669
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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