A Dangerous Profession

No one ever thought being a war correspondent was going to be a safe job, but scores of members of the press have been killed thus far in the Israel-Hamas War.

In the first ten-week brawl between Israel and Gaza, I’ve seen the grim reaper dancing to a new tune, one sung by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). They’re belting out a hellish ballad, telling us that at least 68 media souls have been snatched from this mortal coil since hostilities fired up on October 7, 2023. The majority? Palestinian — 61 of them, alongside four Israelis and a trio of Lebanese. It’s a bloody tally that overshadows any annual body count recorded in any single country’s skirmish.

Listen up because CPJ’s singing a sinister verse about the Israeli military possibly playing a grim game of target practice with journalists and their kin. Picture this: a reporter, marked clear as day as press, gets snuffed out in a peaceful spot. And it doesn’t stop there; there are whispers of scribes getting ugly threats from Israeli brass and IDF officers before their loved ones catch hell.

Yours truly has had his mortality threatened a number of times while covering carnage in foreign lands, but I seriously doubt I face any real danger in my suburban home office.

The Committee to Protect Journalists Investigates

Now, CPJ’s digging through the wreckage to piece together the stories of these 68 lost voices. But it’s a mess out there in Gaza, with ruins and the dead tangled up with their families, who’d normally be the ones to spill the beans on what went down.

Sherif Mansour, the point man for CPJ in the Middle East and North Africa, is shouting over the chaos, saying this Israel-Gaza showdown is a deathtrap for journalists like we’ve never seen. The Israeli forces, he says, have outdone any military or outfit in offing the press in a single year, thus putting a chokehold on the war’s narrative.

In the first month alone, 37 media warriors were laid to rest, marking it the grimmest month since CPJ started keeping the books in 1992. For context, Iraq was a graveyard for 56 journalists in 2006, the previous high-water mark.