Call for probe into cameraman’s abduction
PALPABLE grief and anger were the hallmark of the news that cameraman Shiraaz Mohamed was kidnapped in war-ravaged Syria.
He symbolises dignity, integrity, selflessness and commitment to the truth that constitutes the essence of journalism.
The cowardice and brutality necessary to abduct or take an innocent human life should not be left unpunished.
The family and friends of Mohamed can be content in knowing what a profound impact his unique brand of journalism life has on friends and strangers alike. It takes an exceptional spirit to leave an imprint on so many lives and to unite so many hearts, and Mohamed embodies that very doctrine.
War journalism can be a hazardous profession.
Over 1 000 journalists sacrificed their lives in the line of duty over the past decade. Measuring danger by mortality is, however, only one way, albeit the most visible, of assessing the toll war takes on reporters, photographers and cameraman.
What can follow in danger’s wake is often more difficult to discern and quantify for it lies within the realm of the abstract.
Have we ever wondered how the news travels from conflict zones to newspapers and browsers in minutes? It is because of journalists who are willing to put their lives on the line in pursuit of the truth. The news always comes out safe, but, sometimes, the journalists do not.
Every drop of blood shed by them is giving life to the news industry. They are bringing truth to the outside world. They are heroes of the free press, the very right that lets you disregard their sacrifice without consequences. These men and women run into carnage of their own free will; they pay with their lives so that people who could never experience, never really understand the terror of war, would make an informed judgement on it.
Journalists go into battlefields where not even a squad of soldiers or convoy of vehicles would dare enter.
They go to places the military would never enter without a heavily armed escort. Yet they are armed only with their cameras. They are heroes of their craft, tellers of a truth to which there’s precious little access.
Without photographers and journalists like these, you would not see the “real” face of war.
Those who kidnapped Mohamed are guilty of violating international law.
We condemn this heinous crime and call upon the Syrian regime to conduct an effective and prompt investigation to identify the circumstances of the crime, prosecute the perpetratorsand publish the investigation results.
We pray for his safe return. Johannesburg