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Kamikaze journalism

Suicidal whistleblowing
  (+5, -3)
(+5, -3)
  [vote for,

Situations sometimes arise where it is unfeasible to report on a particular issue because the reporters are afraid of reprisals against their families or themselves. Examples are in countries with oppressive regimes and reporting on organised crime.

Two possible approaches exist. A person can issue a threat as a warning to someone who knows too much, or they can actually kill them or their loved ones.

In order for this to happen, the threat has to be issued for it to be a deterrent, so the person making the threat has to suspect the person knows something they "shouldn't". There is an easy way around this: kamikaze journalism. Before reporting on an issue whose revelation may endanger their own or others' lives, the journalist, preferably one with no dependents, undertakes to commit suicide, voluntarily, before doing so. Hence the information gets out there, is publicised by the suicide of the journalist, and no threat would be effective.

nineteenthly, Jul 02 2008


       As a career choice, it seems a bit limiting.
DrBob, Jul 02 2008

       You do it after quite a while, once you are filled with self-loathing, cynicism and having a mid-life crisis.
nineteenthly, Jul 02 2008

       sp. end-of-life crisis
calum, Jul 02 2008

       Life crisis then. Well, some people think the mid-life one is a myth and that they are scattered liberally through life, as with the quarter-life for example, or even that it's just what life is like from birth to death. This might be an answer because you'd then see your life as purposeful or you wouldn't bother to kill yourself.
nineteenthly, Jul 02 2008

       At least it might give already suicidal people something to do before they kill themselves.
penguin_tummy, Jul 02 2008

       This sounds instinctively ridiculous, but upon reflection there is a utilitarian logic to it that should be considered for the benefit of the world! [bun power]
napoleonbag, Jul 02 2008

       I worry that someone in opposition will spin-doctor the event to pretend that the journalist committed suicide out of shame about his work. This way also loses the martyrdom aspect of having the bad guys do the killing. I'm bunning even though this is a "let's all", as what it proposes we all do is commit suicide.
baconbrain, Jul 02 2008

       [baconbrain], i also thought that, but it would depend on where that information originated, i.e. how much the public trusted the source. For instance, a corrupt regime not supported by the government of a country where the news story is being read isn't likely to be influential. However, this isn't a "let's all", since, perhaps controversially, i'm not recommending all journalists commit suicide.   

       [boysparks], the issue isn't so much the danger you put yourself in so much as the risk to your children, partner, parents, whomso. Your own murder is a less important risk, and a spin really can be put on that - e.g., "she went postal and had to be shot".
nineteenthly, Jul 02 2008

       [+] for an idea that may prove useful, but would reduce the number of journalists on the planet.
8th of 7, Jul 02 2008

       For some reason, many people i used to know have now become journalists. One of them is a TV newsreader. I don't particularly want them to die.
nineteenthly, Jul 02 2008

       Evidently the thing to do will be to hold some information back - to be released if "something happens".   

       I think that a journalist who is capable of unearthing a reprisal laden issue is too valuable a person to waste, by suicide or murder.
neelandan, Jul 03 2008

       ...I wanted journalists that hijacked a radio stations with explosives strapped to them or something...   

       (thinks of kamikaze pilots)
xxobot, Jul 07 2008


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