Journalist Immunity?

Recent events in Egypt led me to think… do journalists need something like diplomatic immunity?

We are witnessing history as we speak. After 18 days of demonstrations, the Egyptians people have successfully ousted President Mubarak who has ruled the country for three decades. And the future? Well, quite unknown, but hopefully a change for the better.

In the process ousting the dictatorial regime, we saw the army defending the protesters, refusing to use weapons. We also saw hundreds of thousands of people mobilizing due to the power of social media. Then we saw violence escalating with pro-Mubarak crowd playing a hand, even hurting American journalists.

The day pro-Mubarak crowd made a grand entrance in Tahrir Square, reports, rather, tweets, flooded my feed.

“Got roughed up by thugs in pro-mubarak crowd..punched and kicked repeatedly. Had to escape. Safe now.”

“Situation on ground in #egypt very tense. Vehicle I was in attacked. My window smashed. All ok.”

Both from Anderson Cooper… I strongly believe only because of his status as a well-known journalist, people instantly perked up and started paying attention.

Regardless, my initial reaction, actually to most incidents that involve journalists, basically went something like this: WHY? What is the point of beating up reporters? What do you prove? NOTHING.

Let’s be real. Roughing up American journalists does not exactly contribute too much. Sure, it draws attention. As we saw in the case of Katie Couric’s crew and Anderson Cooper, people immediately began paying attention even more.

With that aside, though, it still did not bring American intervention nor did it increase or decrease foreign support. All other countries can do is basically continue to stand by.

Most recently, we are deeply disturbed by CBS correspondent Lara Logan’s attack.

Another tweet from AC:

“Sickened and saddened by the attack on Lara Logan. She is in all of our thoughts and prayers.”

This makes me wonder, why don’t journalists enjoy immunity? Diplomats do. They represent the government of the sending state in the receiving state, and they have all sorts of diplomatic privileges and immunities. Including but not limited to special parking spaces, no income taxes and special security forces, these rules protect our diplomats.

In a way, couldn’t we say the media also serves as a representation of a certain country? By having our reporters out there, we show we care. We are delivering news to people back home so they would know what’s going on and in Egypt’s case, so Egyptian Americans can receive information.

Perhaps calling for diplomatic immunity is just too much. But why can’t we get some respect and protection from horrible crimes? All we want to is produce that newscast.

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