Opinion

Essential journalism

Roberto Fraile David Beriáin

The work of journalists in the Sahel is essential to fight terrorist targets.

Any kind of journalism is very respectable, as long as it is journalism. Spanish society should know that the death of two good journalists is a significant loss for all of us. This is not a sign of corporatism among us, and even less so in a profession that in recent years has suffered from the fact that some media and journalists have made the very serious mistake of entering the partisan struggle, militantly defending their interests and following the arguments of the different parties. This is not the case of David Beriáin and Roberto Fraile. Surely they would have their political ideas, but the work they were doing corresponded to the concept of journalism on the ground, going to the places where the news is happening, talking to the people, understanding what is happening and why, and then being able to tell the story in the best possible way. 

They were making a documentary about poaching in a dangerous area of Burkina Faso, part of the Sahel, a strip of North Africa that stretches from Mauritania to Somalia, including Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Senegal and Chad. It is a region where various terrorist groups are active, seeking to control some of the countries with weak governments and institutions, too much corruption and limited resources for the population. Terrorist groups are financed by all kinds of illegal trafficking, such as drugs, arms, medicines, human beings and even animals. The mafias that traffic in everything pay the toll demanded by the terrorists who impose their macabre influence, one of their objectives being to make what they do as little known as possible. The treatment of journalists by terrorist groups changed during the war in Syria, where at first Daesh and other groups kidnapped journalists and earned money from their ransoms until they decided to murder them and videotape their executions, which they then broadcast on social networks and their propaganda channels to spread terror. They achieved their goal: to drive out foreign journalists to prevent news coverage denouncing their despicable acts of barbarism, exploitation and economic and sexual blackmail of the native population in the areas they controlled in Syria and northern Iraq, in Mosul. It was the local journalists who took on the mission and the responsibility to tell what was happening, paying a very high price as well. 

This is the target of the terrorist groups now active in the Sahel. They do not want experienced professionals like David and Roberto to be able to report on the atrocities suffered, in this case, by poached animals. The inhabitants of the region suffer daily from terrorist tyranny and their intention to destabilise the region, which would mean the destabilisation of Europe.