This Friday is World Press Freedom Day, when journalists around the world remember their colleagues who have died in the course of their work. It is a rare opportunity to honour the hardship behind the headlines, and to reflect upon the danger, violence and intimidation too often suffered by those who focus on others’ stories rather than their own.
It is a time to remember the horrendous toll of reporters killed in the war in Syria – 110 so far, according to some estimates. A time, too, to salute the 27 journalists and citizen-journalists killed, and the 335 imprisoned, across the world since the start of the year.
In response, The Independent is today launching Voices in Danger, a campaign to tell the tales of journalists who have disappeared, or who have been attacked, imprisoned or killed. We urge you, our readers, to spread their stories through social media and to lobby for help through your MP or, where appropriate, your government.
We start with the moving case of the Sri Lankan journalist and cartoonist, Prageeth Eknaligoda, who vanished on his way home from work three years ago. Mr Eknaligoda – a powerful dissident voice who was, at the time, investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the country’s long-running civil war – was harassed and threatened in the months before his disappearance. Now, unable to tell his own story, we hear it through the voice of his wife Sandhya, who has led an inspiring campaign seeking information from a sullenly silent government, while also struggling to provide for their two sons.
Sad to say, there are many others like Mr Eknaligoda. We will feature further case studies this week, and in the weeks and months ahead, on the Independent Voices website. Without the courage and tenacity of such people as these, corruption will continue to go uncovered, crimes unpunished and wrongs unrighted. We owe it to them, and to their work, to ensure that they are not forgotten.