numbers of journalists are being assaulted and murdered worldwide but I see
no interest in this by any PR group although there would be no such thing
as PR without journalists.
is the sympathy of PR people? The Committee to Protect Journalists lists
its contributors but none are PR organizations.
based in New York
found that at least 65 journalists were killed around the world in 2007
because of their work.
was the highest total in13 years and compared with 56 killed in 2006.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (http://www.rsf.org) figured 86 journalists
were killed last year.
about 1,000 news media personnel worldwide have been killed trying to
report the news over the past 10 years, or about two deaths each week,
according to The International News Safety Institute (http://www.newssafety.com).
Half of Fatalities in Iraq
Committee to Protect Journailsts monitors
attacks on the press.
year, nearly half of the fatalities were in Iraq.
second deadliest country was Somalia, with seven deaths.
Five died in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, two in Afghanistan and Eritrea and one
in Haiti, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nepal, the Palestinian territories,
Paraguay, Peru, Russia, Turkey, the United States and Zimbabwe.
CPJ said seven in ten journalist deaths are murders, with the others due to
85 percent of the killings went unpunished.
Journalists Criticize Establishment
were these journalists murdered? Their coverage was considered criticism by
various establishments who did not want professional, objective reporting.
did the killers get away with it? CPJ found that governments are
“less willing, less proactive, less courageous in defending the
freedom of information around the globe."
some governments who find killing to be too alarming, there were other ways
of containing the media.
the ninth straight year China
was the world's leading jailer of journalists, with 29 in prison, despite
that nation’s 2001 promise of more press freedom to the International
PR Pros Have Stake in This
should this be of concern to PR professionals? Even in an emerging
era of client-generated content, there would be no PR without journalists,
no legitimate new or mainstream media with credibility.
Nigerian journalist Sunday Dare, a Harvard Neiman Fellow, wrote this
column for the Feb. 19, 2001 USA Today.
pitching new business, PR firms proudly showcase the success of their
placement record and tout the extent of their relationships with the press.
considering the dangers that the media face in doing their jobs, where is
where is the sympathy of PR people? The PR industry needs to show greater
interest in journalists as dedicated professional human beings and not just
people who are vehicles for placement pitches.
Media Pressure Is Wrong
journalists can be counterproductive in the long run, whether it’s
pulling advertising, lying to a reporter, or firing a bullet to influence
stake is the future of freedom and democracy. The media are an
effective mechanism for keeping societal organizations accountable.
work and day-to day reporting routinely uncover corruption, human rights
violations, conflicts of interest and other obstacles to a healthy society or
not always 100% accurate, media coverage more often than not can result in
governmental hearings, legislation and regulation; increased scrutiny of
institutions by the public and shareholders as well as a steady stream of
new ideas, business developments and other informed information about
timely local, national and global trends.
without support, reporters who are often literally in the trenches on the
front lines of the battle for accuracy and accountability will not be able
to prevent governments and other institutions from reverting to bad habits
such as scandals, inappropriate behavior and repression.
Pearl, writing in The Wall Street Journal last month on the sixth
anniversary of the murder of his son reporter Daniel Pearl, said that the
reason that the case is considered an icon of the modern times was because
“he was a journalist, and journalists, more than any other
professionals, represent the strength, beauty and vulnerability of an open society.
When an unarmed journalist is killed, we are reminded of both the freedoms
that we treasure in our society, and how vulnerable we all are to forces
that threaten those freedoms.”
firm is a financial supporter of the CPJ, the Fund for Investigative Journalism
and other such groups. As a mid-sized small firm our contributions
are modest, but if others in the PR profession routinely and pro-actively
supported these organizations it would surely be appreciated by the
colleagues and families of murdered and injured journalists.
addition, we would all benefit professionally and personally by tangibly
supporting our colleagues in the press in their attempt to fulfill their
mission as international guardians of integrity and accountability in a
world that requires constant vigilance.
* * *
P. Trufelman is president
of Trylon SMR , New York, which he established in 1990. He has held PR
posts at MTV Networks, Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, WNYC AM/FM,
Howard J. Rubenstein Associates and CBS Masterworks. He is a graduate of
The American University School