What does a journalist do?
Recently, I turned up the volume on the problematic regarding the corporate bias of the modern news organization-media empire. I have questioned the privilege of media agents who do not represent the public interest, health, welfare, hope and aspiration for a better country – agents that serve the interests of the corporate bottom line. They pass themselves off as the press. As journalists. And it’s really that bad. But there are also those who measure up. They stand above. They are an example to follow.
Mohammed Nabbous stands among several recent heroes of the press.
Mohammed Nabbous (Mo to many) may have been the first citizen journalist to share the terror and horror of Gaddafi’s attempt to silence Feb 17th protesters in Libya. Mo broadcast live from Benghazi from the beginning of the Libyan revolution. He captured the world’s attention with his online video, commentary and blogging. He founded Libya Alhurra TV. You can watch some of Mo’s reports here.
A Candle loses nothing by lighting another Candle.
Mo is twenty something. He’s married. His wife is pregnant.
I write the preceding sentences in a hopeful manner of speaking-writing. With tears welling up in my eyes. I’m assuming Mo’s in a better country. You’ll have to forgive me my assumptions.
Because Mo was killed yesterday. Shot in the head by a sniper. He was on the job.
Mo wasn’t trying to get the story of his career. Or pick up the accolades along the way. Mo wasn’t working for the Man. His bottom line had nothing to do with money, ratings or self-advancement.
I’m not alone in my opinion about Mo.
Writes @lilysnowwhite of Mo: “His mission was to tell the world his story, the story of his country… to call to the world for action, to give his people a voice…”
A long list of noted journalists and media around the world recognize Mo’s brave hearted work including NPR’s Andy Carvin, CNN’s Ben Wedeman, Huffington Post, Street Press’ Robin d Angelo and so many more.
More importantly, a longer list of real people from everywhere recognize Mo’s courage including Louis Abelman, Tim Carmody, Marwa Elnaggar, Dr. Jack King, Peter Martyn, Suzanne El Naggar among hundreds of thousands more.
The list of persons and media above was an intentionally random sample – because so many have spoken highly of Mo as a human being. As a citizen journalist. As a journalist.
My point is not that you have to die to be a journalist. My point is that everyone knows a journalist when we experience journalism. And those of us who experienced Mo, experienced real journalism. Citizen Journalism. At it’s best.
I am not afraid to die, I am afraid to lose the battle.
Journalism is not just the investigation and reporting of events, people, issues and trends. It is about informing people: what’s going on, what’s right, what’s wrong, who, etc. Wikipedia gets it all wrong about journalism when it suggests the latter is merely an ideal or aspiration. Moreover, the pretense of objectivity and neutrality is an irrelevant and undesirable deception.
Real journalists can get the facts mixed up as they try to understand the story. They might not even get the bigger picture at first. They’re human.
More importantly, Mo reminds us that journalism is about serving peoples’ aspirations for a better world, identifying the problems, and being a part of the solution. Mo reminded us that the press serves a higher purpose than the corporate bottom line. The real journalist serves the human cause of Freedom.
Mohammed Nabbous reminds us that all of us share in this responsibility. To ourselves, each other and future generations.
Go in peace and joy, Mo. God bless your wife and unborn child for all their years!
20 March 2011
P.S. More about Mo:
About Stan Faryna
Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.
Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.
His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.
Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.
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