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For lives lost chasing the story

Profiling seven journalists who were murdered while investigating abuse and corruption changed Terry Gould’s life.

Profiling seven journalists who were murdered while investigating abuse and corruption changed Terry Gould’s life.

The Vancouver-based investigative journalist is receiving the Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award on Dec. 9 from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression. The press freedom organization is honouring Gould for his book, Murder Without Borders: Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places.

Around the world, more than 740 journalists have been killed on the job — about 75 per cent of them targeted and murdered — says Gould. In almost all those cases, those directing the murders were not punished.

Gould, 60, spent four years on the book, travelling to Russia, Iraq, Colombia, the Philippines and Bangladesh to uncover the reasons that journalists who predicted their own deaths still pursued their stories about powerful interests oppressing others.

“I wanted to discover what it was that imbued these journalists with this psychology of sacrifice, that enabled them to persist with these stories even though they would get murdered doing so,” says Gould, himself a freelance journalist.

Gould was drawn to all of the journalists that he wrote about and to the transformative events in their lives. But it was learning about Manik Chandra Saha in Bangladesh that transformed his own life, Gould says.

“His selflessness seemed to come from pure goodness,” Gould says.

Saha was murdered in 2004 after writing a series of articles about the Bengal mafia working in league with jihadists and Maoist gangs to rape Hindu farm women, steal land from the farmers, and log in a reserve set aside for Bengal tigers, says Gould.

Gould hopes his book will ensure that these journalists and the stories that cost them their lives will not die.

Citizen’s award
Paul Pritchard was returning to Canada after teaching English in China when he caught sight of a confrontation in the Vancouver airport: RCMP officers surrounding Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski. Tonight, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) honours Pritchard with its first Citizen Journalism award because Pritchard kept his digital camera rolling, refusing to turn it off despite RCMP orders. He then demanded the force return his video.

 
 
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