Thursday, February 20, 2014

Controversial Death of Teenage Syrian Photographer Sheds Light on Unethical News Agencies

Molhem Barakat, a Syrian photographer and journalist died on December 20, 2013 at age eighteen. Barakat was employed by the news agency, Reuters, and provided with cameras and equipment, although given knnadiquit protection. Barakat was not an unbiased journalist, having wanted to be a soldier in the rebellion. Although an active and serious politically involved man, Barakat's other social media was similar to a typical teens', full of selfless and rebellious posts. Because Barakat was a minor when he started working for Reuters, he used the name of an older photographer to avoid the limitations of his age.

The controversy of his death is highlighted by his employers shady policies regarding their journalists' safety. Although Reuters was suspected to be aware of his real age, they kept it in raps because as German journalist Wolfgang Bauer says, "A guy his age will risk much more than an adult. If you're 17 and need to feed your family by photography in a war area, that's a very. very dangerous combination." To escape the immoral way they employed Barakat, Reuters said that the boy simply sold photos to the agency freelance and was not bound to the company. Because of the new demands for online media news coverage, news agencies have collected cheap content from locals without the bonds of providing for their safety. Barakat was killed on a mission to capture pictures of the rebellion.

Molhem Barakat's was tragic and should have been prevented by his employer, Reuters. It is completely immoral for news agencies like Reuters to collect content from the locals in war zones, and pay them as freelance journalists instead of providing them with adequate pay and safety. Although there are many hopeful perspective journalists, like Barakat, looking for any money from they photos to help keep their family fed, these agencies should provide as many as they can with safety for their work and not take advantage of them. If they are sending journalists out into dangerous areas, it is the ethical and moral thing to provide measures for their safety.

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