Opinion Roundup; Journalists Dying on Front Lines in Egypt

The Florida Times Union, August 27, 2013 | Go to article overview

Opinion Roundup; Journalists Dying on Front Lines in Egypt


Journalists are first responders. When tragedies happen, reporters and photographers are there.

Airplane crashes, train wrecks, hurricanes, tornadoes and war - we're there.

Armed only with notebooks and recording equipment, we go where everyone else is fleeing.

Just like troops, journalists suffer from post-traumatic stress symptoms, too. Journalists work in a military-style culture that says, just get the story.

And in some sad cases, journalists are injured or lose their lives.

The latest example comes from Egypt where Mick Deane, a 61-year cameraman for Sky News, the British broadcaster, was one of three journalists killed on one recent day.

At least 78 assaults on journalists have been documented in Egypt since August 2012, reported the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mike Giglio of Newsweek tweeted that he and several other journalists were beaten in police custody after identifying themselves as journalists.

A Reuters photographer was shot in the leg, apparently standard police procedure in Egypt for dealing with journalists.

"If I see you again, I'll shoot you in the leg," a police officer told Abigail Hauslohner of The Washington Post.

"The rapid fire of automatic guns was echoing between buildings as we crouched with neighborhood residents against a wall," she wrote.

Egyptian military operations included sniper fire that involved shooting at people trying to approach a makeshift hospital.

A mob attacked a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, stealing her phone and notebook.

All of this proves just how crucial press freedom is to a democracy. It's the first right attacked by tyrants and an essential method to protect freedom.

HURRICANE CRAZINESS

Florida is a conservative state, right? Apparently our leaders believe in welfare for rich foreigners.

For instance, why is property insurance being subsidized for 20,000 Canadians who are paying cash for their homes?

And why are we subsidizing property owners from the United Arab Emirates and China?

Well, that's what Florida's crazy property insurance system has been doing. Since it's not really insurance, Floridians will be paying fees for claims after a storm.

In fact, only 31 percent of Citizens insurance bills are sent to the address of the insured home, wrote Steve Pociask, president of the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research.

How big is the problem? There are 180,000 Citizens policies going outside the state of Florida.

State leaders need to direct risks properly.

Those who live inland should not be subsidizing those on the coast.

Those who live in Florida should not be subsidizing those who live out of state.

And Florida's property insurance system needs to be stable enough to survive a serious hurricane or a series of them. …

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