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An assault on press freedom

Nov 4, 2013, 9:49 AM

The killing of two French journalists working for Radio France International (RFI) after they were kidnapped in the northern town of Kidal in Mali, is not only high-handed, but it also represents yet another gruesome attack on press freedom.

Both journalists Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, were abducted after interviewing a local political leader. Their bodies were found outside the town soon after.

Their deaths bring to 42 the number of journalists around the world killed so far in 2013.

This case has pointed up yet again the hazards of journalism. When a journalist is on a legitimate assignment, some people in some quarters could misconstrue that as “hostile acts” - whatever that means.

It happens all the time, as journalists are almost always marked out as targets during armed conflicts. And in some cases, they are barred from entry in certain countries, because they are assumed to be spies. Nothing can be further from the truth.

What security agencies and agents term as intelligence is what journalists regard as information that is meant for public consumption.

The journalist gathers information for public consumption only; and not to aid specifically and purposely the strategic advantage of any government.

Governments all over the world have people who are paid to gather intelligence for them.

We, therefore, join the rest of the world in mourning the untimely death of our colleagues, and pray for their souls to rest in peace.

“A day, an hour of virtuous liberty is worth a whole eternity in bondage.”

Joseph Addison