Dangerous world of unearthing the news

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Do you take your daily newspaper or lunchtime news bulletin for granted?

Are you one of those unoriginal types who subscribes to the belief you should never believe what you read in the press?

News reports don’t just magically appear after being manufactured by the great Information God in the sky, they are brought to life, generally, after a lot of effort and no little thought and consideration.

The problem is journalists, mainly those working for print publications, are held in arguably lower esteem than 1970s television personalities, much of what our industry produces is dismissed as unreliable tittle tattle.

This isn’t just a post-phone hacking/Leveson Inquiry British problem, but one which extends across the globe. Earlier this week we had the shocking case of three Al Jazeera journalists who were sentenced to up to 10 years for charges which have been dismissed as “ridiculous”.

The trio - Australian Peter Greste, who used to work for the BBC, Canadian-Egyptian national Mohammed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed - were handed the sentences after being found guilty of spreading false news and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.

There are several theories as to why the three have received such preposterously harsh sentences, with the most popular being that the government, which rose the military-backed coup which 
toppled the Brotherhood, is 
running a vendetta against Qatar, which is home to Al Jazeera.

Whatever the reasons, it is clear journalism is now a crime in Egypt, a place, for reasons I cannot fathom, is still popular with British holidaymakers searching for a cheap break and a bit of scuba diving. You might as well book a week in North Korea. But the dangers faced by journalists extends far beyond North Africa as there are an estimated 200 
reporters banged up in jails across the world.

Last year 71 journalists lost their lives while on assignment in war zones or countless hell holes, trying to shed light on issues which other, far more powerful people, would rather keep under wraps.

So next time you shrug off 
another atrocity in a foreign land or dismiss whatever you read in the papers, just give some thought to what sacrifices have been made in order to keep you occupied as you recline in your armchair.