Kidnapped Journalists Face More Risks Than Ever


Credit: © Robert Sholl |

Kidnapped Journalists Face More Risks Than Ever

For theِ 18 orِ moreِ journalists kidnapped byِ pro-Gadhafi forces inِ Libya, detention mayِ beِ only theِ beginning ofِ their ordeal.
Sidebar: 20 Deadliest Countries forِ Journalists] That danger canِ put journalists atِ risk forِ PTSD asِ well asِ acute stress disorder, depression andِ substance abuse, saidِ Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist atِ the University ofِ Alabama, Birmingham.
Klapow, whoِ isِ alsoِ a mental health consultant forِ the South Central Center forِ Public Health Preparedness, saidِ journalists inِ the field shouldِ beِ given theِ sameِ mental health consideration asِ emergency workers.

Endangered journalists

Depending onِ the study, fromِ 86 percent toِ 100 percent ofِ journalists report havingِ witnessed a traumatic event onِ the job, Newman said.
Lifetime rates forِ PTSD inِ war journalists wereِ fourِ to fiveِ times thatِ ofِ the general population, andِ alcohol consumption wasِ increased, Feinstein wrote inِ a 2004 Nieman Foundation report.
Fight, Fight, Fight: The History ofِ Human Aggression] .

Telling traumatic stories

Everyone responds toِ trauma differently, Newman said, butِ there areِ some PTSD risk factors forِ war journalists, including personal trauma orِ stress outsideِ ofِ work, lack ofِ perceived social support, andِ job stress.
Freelancers — whoِ areِ hired byِ a media outlet forِ only oneِ story, orِ who report a story onِ their ownِ andِ hope toِ sell itِ — mayِ not haveِ networks ofِ co-workers lookingِ out forِ them.
Meanwhile, staff writers mayِ beِ more vulnerable toِ trauma ifِ their news organization isِ struggling toِ keepِ the doors open.