My friend Dr. Chris Allen, a journalism professor at University of Nebraska at Omaha, has been working on global journalism issues from Russia, to Afghanistan, to Oman, and beyond. I am reposting what he wrote on November 22 with his permission as a reminder of the cost our journalists pay for covering the news around the world:
During my time in Oman five years ago I shared an office with Dr. Hosni Nasr, who became a great friend and colleague. In July I met his son, Ahmad,a journalist, who had just moved from their native Cairo to Oman and was looking for a job. He got one, I’m not sure with which organization, and two weeks ago was sent to Iran on a story. He disappeared, and there has been a frantic search for him. Today I found out he has died, but I do not know the circumstances. My heart weeps for this young man, his father, my dear friend, his mother, whom I also love, and his brother and sisters. May God in his mercy give them strength to get through this time of grief.
I sit at my desk with tears in my eyes for my friends, but also for all journalists who have died doing their jobs. Journalists are criticized because they don’t always tell us what we believe, want to believe or want to hear. But the vast majority of journalists are accurate reporters trying to do a good job, just as we all try. They put themselves in dangerous situations to cover stories that need to be told. No one else will tell those stories. No one. No. One. Their only protection is a pen and notebook, a microphone, a camera. If there is shooting they may have a flak vest and helmet. Nothing else. They are not armed.
But they continue to report from situations the rest of us, me included, would never think of entering. They walk alongside soldiers. They search for people with information the world needs to know. And sometimes they die.
There is no war in Iran. By the accounts I read there is peace. And yet this young man has died, doing his job. Ahmad, you will not be forgotten. May you be at peace.