By Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director
The escalating violence in Egypt has so far claimed the lives of three journalists on assignment covering the civil strife. Mick Deane was a 15-year veteran cameraman for the British news service, Sky News. Deane was shot while covering a raid near a mosque in Naar City and later died of his injuries. Two other journalists, from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, have also died in the escalating conflict. A number of other journalists have been wounded or detained in recent days.
The circumstances surrounding the Deane shooting are unknown. Why he was shot—purposefully or at random—and by whom is not clear. The International Press Institute said it has received reports that journalists are being targeted by both sides after the conflicts broke out following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The violence, in which hundreds of people have been killed, is so widespread and intense in Egypt that the true facts surrounding these deaths may never be known.
But what is known is that Deane and the others join the growing list of journalists killed this year—33 at last count--and an estimated one thousand since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Hundreds of others have been injured, imprisoned or detained in countries around the world—nearly all for just doing their jobs.
Any violent death is tragic. But when it occurs to one of our own, it hits much closer to home. These men and women know the risks, but they place a higher premium on bringing the stories to their viewers, listeners and readers than they do on their own lives.
Press freedom is at risk in Egypt, as it is in too many other countries around the world. There is a real irony in that these latest deaths and injuries are occurring under a government that said it took power to hasten the process of democratic reform.
We at RTDNA, like all other journalism organizations, support and admire those in our midst who take such high risks. At the same time, we mourn the loss of those who pay the ultimate price in the line of duty. Most of us will never experience the kind of danger our colleagues face, but we can all be grateful for their dedication and their commitment to those they serve.
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