Vancouver-based journalist Terry Gould tells the stories of six journalists who paid with their lives for refusing to surrender their conviction that journalism is meant to be about ‘telling the truth’. All six faced implacable enemies who knew where they lived, what their habits were and who were their friends and family. The journalists came from a range of countries: Colombia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Russia and Iraq, and – with one exception, Anna Politkovskaya – you have probably never heard of them.
Gould interweaves the six reporters’ personal and family stories with the brutal histories of the places they practised their craft. The settings – such as the Khulna region of Bangladesh, where the forests are under threat from illegal loggers, or the sprawling city of Togliatti where the Russian mob has a stranglehold on car production in what used to be ‘Socialism’s Detroit’ – are vividly drawn.
These are not simple-minded morality tales but stories of journalists who were ‘embedded’, in the best sense of the word, in their communities, working to tell the untold stories with truth and conviction. As Bertolt Brecht said: ‘Pity the land that needs heroes’.