I quoted the Filipino academic and social activist Professor Walden Bello, as saying: “Things are pretty savage at the grassroots level in some of our countries. Journalists who investigate and uncover the truth take enormous personal risks – the vested interests hire killers to eliminate such journalists.”
Bello, executive director of the Focus on the Global South, further said: “Journalists living in the provinces and reporting from the grassroots are more vulnerable than those based in the cities. This is precisely why local journalists need greater support and protection to continue their good work.”
Last week, Reporters Without Borders echoed this call, saying: “We must defend journalists who expose attacks on the environment”.
The press freedom activist group released a new report titled “The dangers for journalists who expose environmental issues.” It highlights the indifference – and even complicity – of some governments and local authorities that make little attempt to protect journalists who take risks to investigate attacks on the environment.
The report looks at 13 cases of journalists and bloggers who have been killed, physically attacked, jailed, threatened or censored for reporting on the environment, and highlights the need for a free press to tackle ecological challenges.
In countries such as Russia, Cambodia, Brazil or even Bulgaria, in Europe, journalists run considerable risks when they try to alert the world about the misdeeds of those who prey on the environment.
Read my June 2007 tribute to Joey Lozano, a courageous Filipino journalist who risked his life to fight for environmental and social justice issues