Editorial Roundup: Information can come at a cost

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, June 7, 2018

In a cultural climate that constantly brands journalists as purveyors of “fake news” comes this somber fact: Forty-six journalists were killed doing their jobs around the world in 2017.

Among 18 fallen journalists selected to be honored at a Washington, D.C., museum on Monday was freelance reporter Christopher Allen. He was an American killed in August while embedded with rebel forces in South Sudan.

Along with journalists who died covering war-torn parts of the world were journalists who were targeted and killed for the work they do, according to an Associated Press report about the Newseum memorial gathering. Kim Wall, 30, was a Swedish journalist murdered in Denmark by inventor Peter Madsen after she went aboard his self-made submarine to interview him; Gauri Lankesh, 55, was known for outspoken articles against the caste system and Hindu fundamentalism in India; Nikolai Andrushchenko, 73, died from a beating in St. Petersburg, Russia; Yameen Rasheed, 29, criticized Islamic fundamentalism in the Maldives; Daphne Caruna Galizia, 53, Malta’s best-known investigative journalist, was killed by a bomb put in her car; and Javier Valdez Cardenas, 50, was dragged out of his car and shot 12 times after years of writing about Mexican drug cartels.

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Like those on this list, many journalists often put themselves in harm’s way in the pursuit of getting important information that impacts the lives of people around the world. This week marks the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing. Journalists were there to capture and record that important history as well as countless other events and movements.

It is worthwhile to recognize those honored this week and other journalists who have given up their lives to get to the truth. Although journalists in the U.S. are less likely to be physically attacked doing their jobs, a constant undermining of the value of what they do takes its toll. As people more often rely on information sources that simply reassure them their views are the only correct ones out there and that everything else is made up, democracy loses its sheen. People need solid information to make solid decisions.

The watchdog role of journalists has taken its place in history and is the part of the public record of humanity’s struggles. The Newseum memorial lists names of 2,323 journalists who have died for their work since 1837. And that is not fake news.

If we are lucky, journalists will continue to fulfill that watchdog role for years to come.

— Mankato Free Press, June 6

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Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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