On World Press Freedom Day, the Newseum honored those brave journalists who gave their lives covering stories in high-risk areas of the world. This year, 92 names were added to the list of fallen journalists, many from countries like Mexico, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
Over 2,000 names are listed on the wall in the Newseum dating back 172 years.
This year, 33 journalists were killed in the Philippines, making it the deadliest day for journalists in history. This year was also the first year a blogger was honored at the memorial. Omidreza Mirsayafi, a cultural blogger from Iran, died in Evin Prison at the age of 28 on charges of insulting Iranian leaders.
Christiane Amanpour addressed the ceremony honoring fallen journalists, reminding everyone of the continued importance of being a witness to these significant and dangerous events around the world.
“We must shine that light in the darkest of corners. Without them, nobody would know those stories. Some of the biggest catastrophes of the world would’ve never have been told,” she said.
She noticed that journalists started becoming targets during wartime during her coverage of the Bosnian war. Despite the growing risk, she urged journalists to continue reporting from the scene rather than relying on new media platforms and aggregate news services.
“It’s almost unthinkable to think what our world would be like if these journalists…these men and women out of their deep belief in what they’re doing, simply didn’t go out to do it,” she said.
According to Frank Smyth from the Committee to Protect Journalists, more reporters have been murdered intentionally this year than ever before. With an impunity rate of 89 percent, it has become easy in some countries to silence dissenters without fear of repercussion. Political influence on the media and Internet restrictions also increased this year.
“It shows that this dangerous trend continues and once you’re out there putting a stake down for truth, there are people who don’t want to hear it,” Amanpour told RFE/RL. “And whether you’re a blogger, camera person, or reporter, this is becoming an increasingly dangerous profession. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep doing it. We have to report without fear.”
To see the list of journalists on display at the memorial, visit the Newseum’s site.