films that make a difference
Reporters At War is a three-part series that takes a long hard look at one of the most dramatic and dangerous careers of modern times, that of the war correspondent.
More than 300 journalists have been killed in battle zones in the last dozen years, some 200 of these having been deliberately targeted by their killers.
The recent War in Iraq’s rate of attrition - 15 dead (plus 2 still missing) in the opening 26 days - is the highest ever. Though 63 died in the Vietnam between 1963-1975, it’s been estimated that at the above rate around 4,500 journalists would die if the Iraq conflict lasted as long as the Vietnam War. Then there’s the psychological trauma of witnessing the brutality of war close-up, constantly, day in, day out, over long agonising periods of time. No wonder nervous breakdowns, marital break-ups, alcoholism, etc affect war correspondents to a degree unexperienced by most ordinary folk.
Reporters At War also examines the ever-changing circumstances that the war correspondent must file their stories under and the evolving technology that is supposed to make their job easier…that, at least, is the theory. It also looks at some early examples of how technology aided and abetted the faking of war newsreel footage, the impact that television may have had on the outcome of war and the pressure that reporters now find themselves under in the satellite-driven, 24-hour rolling-news era that they now unwittingly find themselves starring in.
Finally, it’s often been said that truth is the first casualty of war. Thus the series goes behind those well known, icon stories and images from modern war journalism to scrutinise how such factors as patriotism, censorship, impartiality, propaganda and taste impact on the stories that we get to read, see and hear during times of conflict. If the journalists themselves are rarely happy with what passes for news in such circumstances, how can we ever believe their blood-stained dispatches from the front?
Here are organisations involved in protecting and promoting journalism's integrity and freedom:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the global defense of press freedom.
Reporters Without Borders is an association officially recognised as serving the public interest. More than a third of the world's people live in countries where there is no press freedom. Reporters Without Borders works constantly to restore their right to be informed.
The IFJ promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice through strong, free and independent trade unions of journalists.
The Newseum is the world's only interactive museum of news.