Mar 22 2009

Blogging Can Kill You? So Can Journalism, and Anything In Between

Bloggers may get a lot less glory than mainstream journalists, but it’s clear that where certain slithery regimes are involved, bloggers can fall into the same endangered category.

Iranian blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi died March 18 under mysterious circumstances in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, reports The Washington Times. She was serving a sentence for “insulting” the Islamic Republic’s leaders and tacked on an additional six months for “publicity against the government.” Mirsayafi was not alone – nearly 70 bloggers are imprisoned around the world, according to Reporters Without Borders. (That number seems a bit low, given news reports I’ve read. Anyone with reliable stats, please leave them in the comments below). It’s sickening.

What of new media acolytes who seem to go out of their way to speed their own demise, foregoing even the most minimal precautions that, say, mainstream war correspondents take? I have to mention the case of Beverley Giesbrecht AKA Khadija Abdul Qahaar, North Vancouver’s own Jihad Unspun website creator. The evidently pro-jihad Muslim convert went to Pakistan, presumably went to gather facts to provide some kind of propaganda the Taliban and allied jihadists would find useful. The dire nature of her apparent predicament, kidnapped and threatened with death by the the Taliban, doesn’t allow one to appreciate fully the irony of her situation. I gather her Stockholm Syndrome was fully developed long before she wandered into the Westerner-beheading zone that is Waziristan.

Notwithstanding my revulsion about Qahaar’s online activities, I hope her captors release her, without any ransom paid that could help finance arms sales or the planning of further crimes. I wish this Canadian woman a safe return to our placid British Columbian shores, where she will be free to resume her activities facilitating the infiltration of violent jihadi ideology, or perhaps seek professional therapy that would enable more positive pursuits. (On this point, I may find myself out of sync with many of my friends, so I’d love to hear your feedback, people. Comment!)

For bloggers, journalists and everything in between, the dangers are real. So much for us bloggers working ourselves to death.

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