We write a lot at CPJ about the terrible things that happen to journalists because of their reporting, but we don’t often get a chance to show you what happens to them after they are forced to flee their homes and land abroad. This video, about three such journalists, is worth watching.
Made by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism students, it takes you into the homes of the reporters, who are all struggling now in the U.S. to make a life for themselves–trying to pay their bills, raise their children, and learn the language while unable to find work in their chosen profession. Poddala Jayantha from Sri Lanka, Alaa Majeed from Iraq, and Aroun Rashid Deen from Sierra Leone all live in New York City. I won’t tell you too much about their experiences, but I will say that watching Jayantha talk about how he wakes up and cries for Sri Lanka is unforgettable.
Today I had the chance to talk to one of the documentarians about making the film. Umar Muhammad told me he believes it is important to visually show these journalists’ lives–to actually see Jayantha’s disfigurement, which came not only from the Sri Lankan army shattering his leg, but from stress. I agree, and I urge you to watch:
You can read about CPJ’s Journalist Assistance Program, which provides direct assistance to journalists at risk and their families around the world, here.