WASHINGTON, DC, Day 33 of 40 — When I first began to contemplate this project a couple of years ago, I never realized it would be so timely. Even as recently as this spring, when I traveled to Mexico to shoot the pilot documentary, I didn’t realize it would become so important.
FREELANCERS began as an effort to draw attention to the good work being done by freelance foreign correspondents filling the void left by mainstream media retreating from news coverage abroad. But this documentary series has become ammunition in a battle for truth.
For our democratic system to function, few things can be more important than truth. Truth is the base upon which everything else is built. Without truth, there is no democracy, only dictatorship.
Alarmingly, we now live in a time when some of our leaders tell us not to believe our own eyes and ears, but to rely on their interpretation of events as truth. So, black becomes white. Up is down. And lies become truth.
The characters in this documentary series, FREELANCERS, are foot soldiers in the battle for truth. They are dedicated professionals searching on the ground – sometimes at great personal risk – for the truth that you and I need every day to make crucial decisions about our lives and the life of the country in which we live.
My teaching assistant and I produced the pilot for the series in Mexico where, according to The New York Times, at least 104 journalists have been murdered since the year 2000, while 25 others have disappeared, and are presumed dead. Mexico is the pilot in the series because it’s to Mexico where I went in 1977 to live and to work as a freelance foreign correspondent.
In a report on journalists and media workers killed since 1990, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) analyzes the increasing violence worldwide against journalists over the past 25 years. According to the report, 2,297 journalists and other media workers have been killed while covering war, revolution, crime and corruption, since 1990.
The perpetrators of acts of violence against journalists almost NEVER face prosecution.
As many of you know, it has become fashionable to criticize and to attack journalists and the jobs they perform. And as a journalist for the past 40 years, I recognize that we sometimes fall short of our own aspirations — and of your expectations.
But I find it deeply worrisome that critics, from the comfort and safety of their offices here in the United States, would attack the integrity of those men and women who toil in some of the darkest and most violent corners of the earth. Those attacks make the already difficult and perilous task of foreign news gathering even more dangerous that it already is.
FREELANCERS seeks to set the record straight and to help protect journalists in the field. Please check out our Indiegogo campaign, contribute and get the word out. This is important. We’re all in this together. And the stakes are so high. CLICK HERE:
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