Thursday, 8 April 2010
Veteran investigative journalist Yosry Foda wrote two articles for the Egyptian Youm7 on the topic of violating international borders in inquisitive journalistic endeavours and the dangers it carries.
On March 24, 2010, Foda wrote under the title "Violating Boders: Between Journalism, Security and International Law". A week later, on March 31, 2010, he wrote again under the title "Calculating Risks before Violating Borders."
Foda's first piece was inspired by Yotam Fieltman, an Israeli journalist who reported on illegal African immigrants for Israeli TV Channel 10. The Israeli journalist accompanied an illegal immigrant from Ghana on his trip through the Egyptian desert, the Sinai and across the Egyptian-Israeli borders. Foda discussed the issues of "deniability" and "calculated risks" associated with investigative journalism - especially when violating international borders is concerned.
In his second piece, Foda says he has no doubts that Fieltman calculated his risks and bet on the diplomatic weight of his government in Egyptian security and diplomatic circles. Foda notes that the journalists' decision to take such a risk in Sinai and along the high-security border zone which separates Egypt, Gaza and Israel indicates the contrast between the popular and the official position regarding Israelis in Egypt.
Foda then narrates his own experience and that of Wall Street Journal journalist, Daniel Pearl, in 2002 when they crossed paths in Pakistan in pursuit of an Al-Qaeda fugitive Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. In that episode, Foda reminds us of the important role of identity and background in investigative journalism in troubled zones: Daniel Pearl never made it home, whereas Yosry Foda did.
Yosry Foda's two articles made me think: where do I stand? How much risk am I putting myself under with my amateur, quasi-investigative endeavours in Beirut, Dahiyeh, South Lebanon (on the Israel-Lebanon borders) and in the Syrian-Iraqi border zones... Perhaps I too need to undergo a process of risk assessment and consider my options?