The Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation sends our heartfelt congratulations to Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov for receiving the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Their dedication to journalism and the protection of freedoms have helped advance truth and democracy at a time when journalists face new and increasing threats around the world. We are grateful to the Norwegian Nobel Committee for honoring journalists and journalism.
Families, colleagues and city officials gathered at the Reporters’ Memorial in Bayeux, Normandy, on Thursday for a solemn ceremony to unveil a commemorative stone to journalists killed in action. Despite the dangers of the profession, there was a clear message that the quest to bring information to the world must go on, words undoubtedly directed at the large number of student journalists present. Engraved with the names of 53 journalists fallen in 2020-2021, the stone was unveiled during a quiet, dignified ceremony. It was a key part of the annual event known as the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Award for War Correspondents. The memorial, in a lush green garden on the outskirts of the city, is just over the road from the British WWII cemetery. A beautiful, serene place to contemplate the meaning and cost of freedom.
Being a war reporter is not an easy job. It means putting your life on the line, facing death, or at the very least being exposed to constant danger and trauma. And leaving loved ones behind. But without people willing to go out into the field, collecting reports and images, many important stories would go unreported, and many lives would be lost with complete indifference and impunity. More than 2,000 journalists have been killed in their line of work since an official count began in 1944. The Reporters’ Memorial itself was inaugurated in 2006, in partnership with Reporters without Borders (RSF), the Doha Centre for Media Freedom and the city of Bayeux. Pierre Haski, president of RSF, reminded the audience that danger for journalists was everywhere, and no region of the world had been spared. Two-thirds of the journalists killed in the past year were from countries considered to be peaceful, such as in the Netherlands and Greece. Nine were from Mexico.