The Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial honors journalists who've died while trying to expose the truth.
Today, May 3, is World Press Freedom Day, an international day intended to draw attention to the eroding freedom of the press worldwide and to the important work journalists do, sometimes at great cost to themselves. Some are harassed and threatened. Some are imprisoned. Some experience violence. And some are killed.
Those of you who've followed the I-Team series, which is in part based on my own work as an investigative journalist, understand by now that being a reporter can be dangerous. I jokingly tell people that I went in to journalism not understanding that it was a contact sport. It's a joke, and yet it's kind of not funny.
When I wrote Extreme Exposure, I dedicated the book to the 1,400 or so journalists who'd died in the line of duty. The number of slain journalists is now at least 1,913.
Far too often these days when we think of "media," we think of mainstream media that doesn't do its job, or we think of paparazzi-type reportage that involves chasing people and invading their lives to bring the public news that doesn't matter. Rarely do people think of those reporters who toil away, day in and day out, doing the hard work of muckraking — digging and researching in order to protect our freedom by acting as a watchdog on government and those in power.
In my own tiny way, I've tried to fight the good fight. I have friends who still fight the good fight, some of whom you may have seen on TV or heard on the radio, telling about injustices they've exposed. All the investigative reporters I know have, at times, been threatened. I've had two stalkers, one of whom threatened to kill me with an AK-47 and who sent me letters detailing where I went and what I said to the cashier at the gas station, etc. If it's like that for us here in the U.S., imagine what it's like in other countries.
So today while enjoying your beautiful spring Sunday, take a second to remember reporters around the world, some of whom are languishing in prison cells for the crime of telling the truth.
And, Michael, congrats for making it onto Colorado Public Radio with the program about PTSD and soldiers at Fort Carson. You rock.
Coming soon: I-Team hero interviews and more Naked Edge excerpts!