I write regularly about the dangers faced by journalists in various nations who write against governments and business interests.
Reporters who challenge environmental abuse are the new workers in the firing line:
Cherelle Jackson turned a deaf ear to the threatening calls she got after publishing the first two parts of a story about a government-sponsored development project that was proceeding despite the misgivings of an environmental impact assessment. But, when someone set her office on fire a little over two years ago, the twenty-seven-year-old Samoan reporter fled to New Zealand without publishing the third part.
“In small countries it’s really easy to access people,” she said Friday at the international climate summit here, walking and talking as she rushed to a press conference about threats to environmental journalists. “Part of your job is to deal with the threat. So, I usually ignore the calls, but the burning down of my office is not easy to ignore.”
The number of environmental journalists that are being attacked and threatened is growing, according to twenty-six press freedom organizations who sponsored the press conference. A representative of Reporters Without Borders said fifteen percent of the cases that the group monitors worldwide are now linked to the environment. Other watchdog groups have also found that stories exposing environmental degradation wrought by governments, industry, mafia organizations, and even small-time polluters are increasingly risky for environmental reporters.