They risk everything to tell a story. They give their lives to tell the truth. When others flee a fire, they run toward it. Without their work, the rest of the world would be in the dark--because if we do not know about a disease, how can we cure it? Conflict journalists are the investigators who alert us to trouble we might not otherwise know existed, and today we remember Steven Sotloff and James Foley as two such muckrakers whose legacy and names we will not forget. But what drives journalists to put everything on the line to report from a dangerous location? Is it unethical for media outlets to take work from freelancers in hot spots if they're not sharing in the risk? And above all else, what can be done to protect other unarmed men and women who regularly put themselves in harm's way for a byline or a photograph? What more, if anything, can they do to protect themselves, for that matter?
We're honored to have the opportunity tonight to ask these questions of Ron Haviv, an Emmy nominated and award-winning photojournalist and co- founder of the photo agency VII. Dedicated to documenting conflict and raising awareness about human rights issues around the globe, in the last three decades, Haviv has covered more than twenty-five conflicts in over one hundred countries and has been taken hostage not one but three times. He has published three critically acclaimed collections of photography, and his work has been featured in numerous museums and galleries, including the Louvre, the United Nations, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Haviv's photographs are in the collections at The Houston Museum of Fine Arts and George Eastman House amongst others as well as numerous private collections. Haviv has produced an unflinching record of the injustices of war and his photography has had singular impact. His work in the Balkans, which spanned over a decade of conflict, was used as evidence to indict and convict war criminals at the international tribunal in The Hague. President George Bush has even cited Haviv’s chilling photographs documenting paramilitary violence in Panama as one of the reasons for the 1989 American intervention.
We feel privileged to have him with us this evening, so don't miss tonight's tweetchat beginning at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST on Twitter. Set your reminder alerts now, and follow the #muckedup hashtag tonight at that time!
(Photo credits: Ron Haviv)