Journalism – a dangerous occupation

Yesterday I was writing about British hostages being at last released by the Iran authorities, much to the joy of the Britons.

Today, it’s about journalists being ill treated in foreign land. You won’t probably imagine how journalism can be dangerous. Journalists and reporters are often held hostage, roughed up, detained or even killed in the performance of their duty. It’s not an easy job to cover events like war, conflicts and even political issues. We’ve seen them oft times, live and direct, in conditions which call for courage and gut.

The two Dutch foreign correspondents, Remco Reiding and Jelle Brandt Corstius are surely not privy to this. They’ve been subjected to violent treatment and detention while covering an anti-government demonstration in Russia. They are not the first, and certainly not the last.

Remco Reiding is a journalist for De Journalist and Dutch Press Association GPD, and Jelle Brandt Corstius, a journalist for Trouw. They were covering an unauthorized demonstration against the Russian government on March 24. They had their credentials and they were only doing their duty as journalists, reporting and photographing the event. One of them received a serious punch in the face by police, reports say.

Such treatment is considered unacceptable by the Dutch government.. The Russian authorities will have to answer. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is backing the Dutch Association of Journalists in its demand for a public apology.

Attacking, capturing and detaining press people are becoming commonplace. Several professional reporters have suffered such fate, sometimes even worse. Only a handful of lucky ones come out safe and sound.

But journalists are what they are, daring. Nothing’s going to bar them from unveiling injustice wherever it is, even if it spells danger… to themselves, their families or their dear ones.

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