More than 60 years ago, Edward R. Murrow stood on the rooftop at the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London and reported live to American listeners as German planes bombed the city. Now, that rooftop is the site of a stunning new memorial to journalists killed while doing the dangerous job of keeping the public informed.
The International News Safety Institute estimates that 1,000 journalists have died on the job in the past ten years–an average of two per week. Iraq has become one of the most dangerous places on earth for a journalist to work. But there are many more. The BBC recently lost two journalists in Afghanistan and Somalia.
In an interview on BBC World News last night, global head of news Richard Sambrook said journalists are being targeted in hot spots around the world as never before. Journalists used to declare their status as members of the press as a form of protection, he said. Now, journalists are being targeted because of the job they do. “Because groups can get their own story out [on the Internet] they see a journalist who wants to file a balanced story as a threat,” Sambrooke said.
The memorial, a 32-foot high cone of glass and steel, will be lit up every night at 10, shining a beam of light up to one kilometer into the sky. Sambrook says it will help journalists “remind people that without freedom of the press there would be no freedom at all.”