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Annual London ceremony honors fallen journalists

Memorials on an altar during the 2007 annual service for fallen journalists in St. Bride's Church in London. (AFP)

After the din of the day's student protests died down on Fleet Street, a gathering of a quieter, more somber sort took place. St. Bride's Church, London's so-called church of the press, held its annual service this Wednesday to commemorate journalists, photographers, cameramen, and support staff that died in the pursuit of journalism. This year's service was called "The Price of Freedom."

St. Bride's rector joined members of the U.K. media in paying tribute to the dozens of journalists killed over the past year in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. In a particularly moving speech, British journalist Mark Austin, of television network ITV, spoke of his time reporting in Somalia, where journalists, particularly local ones, face acute risks. Local reporter Nasteh Farrah, Austin recalled, was shot on the street simply because, his colleagues said, "someone didn't like his reporting." Austin also spoke of the guilt felt by a Western correspondent who is part of a large media organization that offers him protection in a country where his local colleagues have none.

Few in the St. Bride's audience personally knew the 38 fallen journalists and support staff whose names were read aloud, but attended the service simply to respect their colleagues' work and sacrifices. "These are reporters, not dropping in for a few days to temporarily cover a story. They're journalists who are working and living with the constant threat of intimidation, violence, and murder," Austin told the crowd. "Journalists who are getting uncomfortably close to the truth. Despite the dangers, they made a simple decision. They decided it is their job to try to tell the truth about what is happening in their country."

Read the full text of ITV reporter Mark Austin's remarks here.

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Comments

Interesting.

A good and important initiative, congratulations!

Myself I make MEMORIAL POSTCARDS of killed journalists since some time.

Of journalist NASTEH FARAH, Somalia, I also made a postcard. (his son is now just 3 year old)

The last postcard had the number 0378 and was in memory of journalist FRANCIS NYARURI, Kenya.

FRANCIS NYARURI had been missing since 15 Jan 2009 and was found dead on 29 Jan 2009 in a forest in Western Kenya - his body was decapitated.

He had written a series of exposeés on financial scams and other fraud carried out by the local police department.

THANK YOU.
GOD bless you.

Wilhelm H. Ludwig
Member of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR)
www.ishr.org – www.igfm.de – www.menschenrechte.de –
Member of the Society for Threatened Peoples – www.gfbv.de (German website)
Streitbergstrasse 93a, D 81249 Munich/Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 897 01 081; Fax: +49 (0)89 871 39 357; E-Mail: [email protected]

Wilhelm H. Ludwig November 15, 2011 10:10:42 AM ET