Although I am very aware of (and saddened by) the little time we have left in Praha, I find my mind occasionally wandering elsewhere. It is because of the lessons the journalists here have taught me that I can’t help but to think about Egypt.

From the lessons at Vyškov Military Academy to the lectures at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, I have learned about an entirely different species of journalists. Not to say that journalists in the United States are any less noble; but they do not face the same challenges. The job requirements are quite different for those reporting among war, uprising, revolution and violence.

Hundreds of innocent lives were taken during the deadly protests in Egypt this week. The violence killed three journalists Wednesday. It may be difficult to focus on the tragedy of those three deaths when hundreds more are also victims of this unrest. However, the reality of what killed these reporters mixed with the relevance to my education here in Praha is what hits home.

Mick Deane was 61 and married with two sons. He was a broadcaster for Sky News until he was fatally shot while covering the violent protest camps in Cairo Wednesday.

Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz was only 26. Though she was not on assignment, she was a journalist for a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates until she was shot dead in Cairo at a sit-in for Morsi supporters at the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque.

Ahmed Abdel Gawad, an Egyptian journalist for the state-run newspaper Al Akhbar, was also killed while covering the crackdown at Rabaah al-Adawiya. The cause of his death is not confirmed.

According to the Associated Press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said it was investigating attacks on journalists and urged Egyptian authorities to “show restraint and allow the media to do their job.”

Well, that’s reassuring.

I have never had a deeper appreciation for free media. The Prague Freedom Foundation, Anglo-American University and other organizations we are working with in Prague have asked us to challenge our knowledge of free media. I’ve been lucky enough to hear from the people and journalists of the Czech Republic themselves about the end of the Communist regime and the beginning of a free media. At Radio Free Europe, I learned about the restrictions and challenges of reporting in the Middle East and areas that do not have a free media. Despite all of the eye-opening information I’ve been given while studying media and democracy, nothing brings the take-away from this course full circle like present day turmoil in Egypt. Reporters are dying all over the world for the sake of the truth – Egypt just makes for one big tragedy of an example.

Despite the Committee to Protect Journalists’ attempt to calm the storm in Egypt, journalists will continue to die for their stories around the world. Whether or not you trust the media (my focus topic for this course), the journalists who are reporting in dangerous areas are some of the most selfless people I can think of. Taking a minute to think about those journalists, instead of the ones whom you’ve lost trust in because they are reporting sensationalized fluff, may bring you a bit of the perspective I’ve gained in the past two weeks.

I encourage you to read as much as you can about the crisis in Egypt. Read as much information as possible. Though I am guilty of not staying as up-to-date on the Arab Spring as I should, I challenge you to do better than me. Because someone out there is probably putting his or her life in danger to get you that information.

 

More information about the Cairo protests:

Surreal photos of Cairo’s protest center, 24 hours after the crackdown

Egypt crisis: Heavy gunfire at Cairo mosque siege

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