Supporting journalists at risk
I was at the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank yesterday evening. Not to see a movie but for the Rory Peck Awards, which recognise the work of freelance cameramen and camerawomen in TV newsgathering and current affairs worldwide.
Organising our own annual Media Awards each year has really brought home to me the dangers faced by the media in bringing us important stories about human rights. Freelancers are, sadly, often those who place themselves at most risk while also enjoying the least recognition.
It was a moving occasion, not just to see the winners and finalists enjoy a well-deserved spell in the spotlight plus financial and other prizes, but also to hear about the work of the Rory Peck Trust, for which the awards evening also serves as a showcase. The Trust provides support to the freelance newsgatherers and their families.
The bit about their families is important. Here at Amnesty we work on cases in which journalists are imprisoned or threatened or even disappear or are killed. We call for investigations and justice for their families but the Rory Peck Trust provides financial support so that their families can still eat. Channel 4’s Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson described a couple of moving examples last night.
If we needed any further evidence of the dangers faced by journalists, then it’s provided by BBC News online, which reports today that gunmen have shot and wounded two foreign journalists in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar.
You can show your support for journalists at risk by taking part in this year’s Amnesty Greeting Cards Campaign. Among the individuals for whom you can send messages of support are journalists Chief Ebrima B. Manneh in Gambia, Pablo Pacheco Avila in Cuba and Eynulla Fetullayev in Azerbaijan.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.