In recent weeks a number of vigils have taken place to remember the journalist and investigative reporter, Martin O’Hagan, and to protest at the failure to secure prosecutions following his murder in 2001. Journalist, Lyra McKee, was shot dead while observing rioting in April 2019. Veronica Guerin, a crime reporter, was shot dead in June 1996. Journalists at home and abroad have suffered intimidation, threats, physical assaults and death simply because they are journalists.
These assaults on journalism have not been confined to the actions of organised crime gangs and paramilitary organisations. Many journalists have suffered the same fate at the hands of the US, UK, NATO and EU governments and their right-wing allies such as Israel, Turkey and Middle Eastern theocracies.
While these states are happy to point the finger at other states, they attempt to disguise their own role in information suppression and control.
They are happy to ignore the “disappearances” of writers and journalists in Argentina, Chile and throughout Latin America with the active collaboration of the CIA and NATO’s deliberate attack on a Belgrade TV station in April 1999 during which 16 workers were killed and 19 injured – a murderous attack which Tony Blair declared was justified.
They are also happy to ignore the US government’s current unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military. In addition to the outrageous attempt to extradite Julian Assange, the US government, for all its pretence concerning the right to freedom of expression countenanced attempts to kidnap and assassinate him.
John Pilger, the award-winning journalist, war correspondent, author and filmmaker, also revealed a leaked secret British Government file which sees investigative journalists involved with the propagation of WikiLeaks’ source material as a threat to be neutralised by various means.
Of course, we must also insist that journalists are not co-opted by the system, preferring to sanitise uncomfortable truths and to glorify and justify state propaganda.
As Pilger has pointed out PR terms such as “pacification” and “collateral damage” became common currency in recent wars and words such as “invasion” are studiously avoided and the brutal realities of bloody conquest and destruction obscured or denied. rnalists