The death of a citizen journalist in Libya reminds me how easy citizen journalists have it in the United States.
U.S. citizen journalists never have to fear for their lives. They never have to face censorship or reprimand, as long as they follow the laws of the land and the ethics of the profession.
They can go out in the field, ask questions and write stories they believe will inform their neighbors about the happenings in their communities and the actions of their local governments.
Such wasn’t the case for Mohammad Nabbous, described as the “face of citizen journalism in Libya,” who reportedly was shot dead by forces of Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy on Saturday, March 19.
Nabbous was credited with setting up Libya al-Hurra (“freedom”) TV, which broadcast raw feeds and commentary from Benghazi on Livestream.
Nabbous isn’t the only one who has been put in danger in an effort to report the news and keep the populous informed about what is truly happening.
Seven professional journalists who had been previously captured were released on Monday and Wednesday, according to news reports. At least 10 others are still missing or being detained, including six Libyan journalists who reportedly have been critical of the government.
So, U.S. citizen journalists what’s stopping you? Please take advantage of the freedoms offered by this country. Get your notepad and go outside and start asking questions. You are lucky. You have nothing to fear.
Susan Cormier is the head coach in charge of training at the National Association of Citizen Journalists (http://nacj.us/) and co-author of the “Handbook for Citizen Journalists” (http://www.citizenjournalistnow.com/).