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While the Free World wages its war on terror, a troubled group of uncelebrated heroes has been conducting its own fatal and unchecked campaign in the trenches. The work of these freedom fighters without whom the worlds lawless regimes would never be exposed, nor meet justice is so important that according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in Russia alone, 43 of them have been assassinated for it in the past 15 years, making the former super-power the worlds third most perilous nation for that industry, behind Iraq and Algeria. The fallen are the trade-smiths of the Fourth Estate. The mountain-moving members of the media. Rank and file journalists, who have paid the ultimate price for their dogged pursuit of the truth, and biting facts about some of todays thugdoms and their unruly sub-cultures. Three weeks into Year 2007, prominent Turkish-Armenian editor Hrant Dink was murdered outside the offices of his weekly Agos newspaper in Istanbul for incurring the wrath of Turkish nationalists for his courageous writings about the Armenian genocide of 1915. Days earlier, Lan Chengzhang, a reporter for The China Trade News, had been beaten to death in Shanghai for his reported investigation of illegal coal mines in the Shanxi Province. Last October, eminent Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya famous for her coverage of her countrys war against the recaptured separatist region of Chechnya was found dead in an elevator; a pistol and four bullets lying beside her. Two years earlier, she had fallen gravely ill with symptoms of food poisoning after drinking tea on an air flight while covering the Beslan school hostage crisis in North Ossetia. The word among her colleagues was that the bout had been a botched attempt on her life. In death, Politkovskaya became the 13th journalist to die in an unsolved assassination-type killing since Russian President Vladimir Putin assumed office in 2000 and began curbing his snooping media. The list continues. Grimly. Rafael Ortiz Martinez, a reporter for the Mexican daily, Zócalo, who reported on prostitution and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Monclova, and who has not been seen or heard from since leaving his newspapers office in the early hours of July 8, 2006. Gautam Das, a Bangladeshi reporter for the Dhaka-based daily, Samakal, an exposer of crime and corruption by members of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who was found strangled to death in his office on November 17, 2005. Reda Helal, a controversial editor with the quasi-official Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram and an advocate for the US-led Iraqi War remains missing since August 11, 2003, when he was last seen entering his home in Cairo. The above are a mere handful of warriors of the written word, who have been silenced by dangerous adversaries for appreciating the beauty of truth and then reporting it. Their names and images may not stand the test of time, but their work will remain an eternally eloquent reminder of their supreme sacrifices. E-mail A Britishers View at BritView@courierlife.net. All letters become the property of Courier-Life Publications and are subject to publication unless otherwise specified; please include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification.
©2007 Community Newspaper Group
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