The mainstream media in the US and its allies on the Left like to congratulate themselves for “speaking truth to power,” as if they were taking any real risk for questioning or even insulting conservative politicians. What a joke; the only risk they truly face is a sprained shoulder from patting themselves on the back so much.
They’re brave only in the way a bully is brave: tough while surrounded by like-minded bullies.
If you want to see truly brave journalists –amateurs, at that– then have a look at this report from the Telegraph on people who risk their lives to report on what is really happening in North Korea:
With its ruthless dictator, network of forced labour camps and iron grip of its ruling party, North Korea is the last country one might expect to see a middle-aged woman berating a policeman for demanding a bribe.
But extraordinary video images smuggled out of North Korea, combined with reports of graffiti and posters critical of the regime, indicate a growing willingness among a previously cowed public to speak out and demand change.
Such dissent would once have been unthinkable in the reclusive state, but now hunger and plummeting living standards are now triggering demands for freedom – something that no North Korean has ever experienced.
Evidence of the rising tide of discontent has been captured on film by a small group of “citizen journalists”, who newsgather at great personal risk to themselves. They then carry the footage across the heavily guarded border into China.
In one dramatic clip, a woman who is trying to board a truck to take her to work flies into a rage after a uniformed policeman demands a bribe. She shouts at him and waves her finger in his face until he backs away. Emboldened, other people come to her aid, shouting at the officer.
The clip ends with the unidentified woman yelling: “This cop is an idiot!”
I truly wonder if that woman lived through week.
Be sure to watch the video at the link above, and keep in mind that the woman interviewed at the start is 23 years old. This isn’t civilization; it’s life reduced to a state of nature, people nearly stripped of their humanity. If there is a Hell on Earth, then either North Korea or Zimbabwe must be it.
The journalists themselves are incredibly brave, risking their lives to get these videos to their Japanese sponsor. They risk their families, too, for North Korea punishes not just the “criminal,” but relatives, too, often through several generations in their infamous prison-camp system.
The very existence of people willing to document life inside Kim Jong-Il’s dystopia, plus others who challenge members of the security forces or write protest graffiti, shows the state’s hold is cracking over the miserable men and women trapped there. According to the article, it has been at least since a disastrous famine in 1999 that killed roughly 1,000,000 people. More recently, Pyongyang’s currency reforms and crackdown on private markets have lead to inflation, the loss of savings, and renewed food shortages, creating such a problem that the government had to back off, at least a bit.
All of these events and more are eroding the people’s fear of their government, making them so angry that they stop being afraid. It reminds me of the events in Romania in 1989, when the people finally found their courage and overthrew their dictator. The look of fear and confusion on Ceaucescu’s face as the crowd unexpectedly booed him marked the moment Commmunism began to fall there.
With luck, the brave amateur journalists of North Korea will be able to capture a similar look on the face of Kim Jong-Il.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)