WANDER by Tori

December 8, 2008

The aim of completing this degree, BA Media Studies/ Journalism, for me, was an attempt at filling a space in political activism in democratic journalism and at this stage of my university career I find myself fascinated by the pioneers of this profession.

Anna Politkovskaya made her name reporting from Chechnya, protesting for human rights issues and opposing the Chechyan conflict and then Russian president Putin.  She authored several books about Russian politics and the conflict spanning her lifetime there.  She was outspoken, revolutionary and highly opposed by Russian leaders such as Putin.  In one of her books, Putin’s Russia; a Falling Democracy, she openly criticizes the Russian Secret Service, the FSB.  Anna Politkovskaya was shot dead in her apartment block in 2006.  Her murder remains unsolved by the authorities, leaving the work of journalism still a very dangerous profession in many countries.

Journalists in war zones, with video cameras and notepads on the front line of battle are obviously determined to get the story and beat their rivals, but this element of journalism which physically and knowingly puts my physical self in immediate danger of death does not sound so appealing.  To have my works receive the 2001: Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism like Anna Politkovskaya, seems much more worthy.  The political comment and protestation within works is what sparks interest in apathetic democratic nations, oblivious to massive human rights violations across the globe.  Journalists who die on the battle ground are a huge loss of life because they should be communicating to their readership about how to stop such conflicts.  The media circus which demands epic photography of wars and conflict are not only encouraging more journalists to risk their lives, but also, by reporting on such events are leaving less space for critical comment about our democratic leaders and the decisions they are making on our behalf.

The idea of a newspaper over turning an unfair ruler or even better, an individual writer for a publication changing something for the better with the power of free speech and determination is what inspires me to be a journalist.

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