A Tribute to Journalists
It can be no consolation for the media that it is feared by both political leaders and terrorists alike. It is not the other way round, though some sections of the media suck up to the establishment for their own ends!
Sacrifices and challenges abound in the life of a journalist — tight deadlines, long days, odd hours, trying circumstances almost every day, unenviable pay packets and more. Many media houses even lose money or run into financial ruin, so it is not lucre they are after. They are in there to serve society, not rip it apart like the political leadership in some nations, particularly the impoverished ones.
Journalists risk their lives, depending on the beat they are on. They have lost their lives on the battlefront and some have even been captured and beheaded. They are not one to be cowed down though!
That is perhaps why they command respect from readers and viewers at times such as now, with the world mourning the death of cartoonists and journalists in a brutal attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine yesterday.
Peaceful Protests: It has seen people across France, Europe and, in fact, worldwide banding together in peaceful protests against terror and in support of freedom of expression.
As I had argued in my post yesterday, preaching free speech to terrorists who are not amenable to reason will buy no peace.
CNN has been featuring scenes of protesters with raised pencils, pens and nibs in support of journalists. Slogans such as the “pen is mightier than the gun” have also emerged. This is a slight variation to the age-old tagline that the “pen is mightier than the sword.”
Napoleon Bonaparte is often remembered for his enduring quote that “four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.”
But it is always safe to exercise restraint when it comes to lampooning religions and their Gods as these are times when the slightest provocations trigger killings, mostly with just one faith behind them.
CNN has a report in their news portal about why Islam forbids images of the Prophet.
I have been very impressed with CNN’s balanced and responsible coverage of the Paris attack without any trace of sensationalism.
Muslims, including Imams in Europe, are also coming out in the open urging their fellow-men to speak up against terrorism. Many Islamic nations have also been vocal in condemning the attacks.
These are steps in the right direction as silence will only be seen as endorsement of violence.
Without the support of Muslims, the killing of people in the name of religion can hardly be checked.
G Joslin Vethakumar