Mar 30, 2012
The work environment for journalists and broadcast workers couldn't be more dangerous today. Whether covering demonstrations throughout the Middle East, civil war in Africa or disasters here in the U.S., these CWA members put their lives and sometimes their freedom on the line to tell the world what's happening.
NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce, whose sector represents camera operators, technicians and other workers, said "viewers and readers don't necessarily realize what it takes to get these stories and how much risk people put into their jobs."
Following last year's earthquake and nuclear plant breakdowns in Japan, NABET-CWA members were on the job, covering those news events. That work took them into hazardous and potentially radiation-contaminated areas, but employers failed to provide the necessary safeguards. As a result, NABET-CWA is fighting to ensure that affected members are provided adequate medical monitoring and if necessary, treatment.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that at least 46 journalists were killed in 2011, mainly in the Middle East and North Africa. Nine online journalists were killed for their work and 179 journalists were imprisoned, as of Dec. 1. Another nine journalists have been killed so far in 2012. The International Federation of Journalists reported that 106 journalists and media staff have been killed; IFJ includes drivers and "fixers" and support staff in its counts.
TNG-CWA President Bernie Lunzer said "more must be done to stop the killing and to better protect journalists and media workers," including training and better protective equipment in hazardous areas, including gas masks, bullet proof vests and other equipment.