Being a Journalist Can Be Dangerous Work

By IndyKids Staff

Many journalists have dangerous jobs. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 55 journalists were killed on the job in 2006. Here are two journalists who have suffered just because they were doing their jobs:


Sami al Hajj is a Sudanese cameraman who worked for the TV station Al-Jazeera. He was held by Pakistani police in December 2001 while traveling with his film crew. He was transferred to U.S. hands and taken to an air base in Afghanistan.

Al Hajj says that he was tortured by U.S. soldiers. He is now being held at the U.S. prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but has not been charged with any crime or had a trial in a court. He has been in prison for over five years. Al Hajj’s lawyer says the U.S. military his holding him because it wants information about al Hajj’s employer, Al-Jazeera, not because al Hajj committed a crime.


Hrant Dink was an Armenian journalist and editor of Agos — an Armenian and Turkish-language newspaper based in Turkey. Hrant wrote about the need for free speech and minority rights in Turkey, which included the right to talk about the Armenian Genocide.

As a writer and peace activist, Hrant’s work brought him international awards for defending freedom of thought and expression. His work also brought him more than 2,500 death threats from Turks. In fact, those who were critical of his writings took Hrant to court three times for “insulting the Turkish nation.”

On January 19, Ogun Samast, a Turkish teenager, shot and killed Hrant in front of the Agos office. When Samast was caught, the Turkish police posed for pictures with the assassin as if he were a hero. As Turkey struggles to become a more open society, the country is held back by those who continue to practice discrimination. Journalist Robert Fisk called Hrant “the 1,500,001st victim of the Armenian Genocide,” viewing

Hrant’s murder as a continuation of the racism that fueled the Genocide of 1915.

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