UNITED STATES—I have been following the news about journalist Danny Fenster from Michigan who was recently imprisoned in Myanmar for charges of treason and espionage. He was recently sentenced to 11 years in prison on November 12. Things were not looking good for Danny, but out of nowhere earlier this week it was revealed that Danny Fenster was being released from the Myanmar prison and heading back home to Michigan.
He arrived at the airport in New York for the first time in 6 months he was able to hug his parents and his family. A press conference was later held where Danny and several others discussed what unfolded, including United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson. It is amazing to hear this story because a week ago things did NOT look good for Danny Fenster at all, and now he is a free man and returning home, but it raised an important question for me.
What are the dangers of journalism? Look we can get into a major tiff about journalism people, because there are people who call themselves journalists, but are not full blown journalists. I feel the gritty journalists are not afraid to go out there, to get the story, to talk to people and at times risk their own lives to expose the truth. Nowadays there seems to be people who are controlled by the pockets of others when it comes to journalism and what they report; leaving certain things out, pinpointing certain things or following the status quo.
When it comes to journalism a story can take you to a plethora of places and you have to follow allow those pathways to ensure you obtain the full story and you report the full story without sugarcoating anything! The truth is the truth and a lot of people don’t always want to hear it, but in the world of journalism a true journalist will risk their lives at times to ensure the truth is reported and that is what Danny Fenster was doing in Myanmar.
As a result, the Myanmar government which was overtaken by a military regime doing a coup felt threatened and Danny paid the price for that. He was charged with sedition Danny is the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar and exposing things that the new military government wanted to keep under wraps. When people see threats to their livelihood or the things they want the public to know and what they don’t want the public to know, it can place journalists in danger.
As a journalists it is your goal to report the good, the bad and the ugly, the ugly part is sometimes that element that some dance around and it doesn’t always yield positive reaction. I don’t think a true journalist cares if a person is upset by them reporting the truth that is what they do. However, with the constant evolution of technology, the internet in particular the notion is to push the story as fast as possible without verifying the information and ensuring it’s accurate. Do the work people; that is what good journalism is all about.
In addition, Danny Fenster’s situation raises a big question, how far would you go to report the truth as a journalist. Would you travel to other countries, would you be willing to be locked away in prison? It happened to Fenster and I know the journalist did not expect or want that to happen, but he knew how important it was to inform the world of what was taking place in Myanmar and it has garnered media coverage like a wildfire on a global scale.
He has gotten the word out and let’s be honest people are talking about Myanmar and I think more government officials will really take a deep dive as to the inner workings of things taking place in Myanmar that this government is trying to hide.
As someone who attended what people consider a top tier journalism program at Michigan State University, I know some things, but I am always open to learning more and more and more from journalists that I admire, I look up to and I want to be more like. True journalists fight to get the truth out there regardless how people might feel or perceive them in the long run it might even result in some rare cases one being jailed as a result.