Being a journalist can be a life or death proposition in many countries south of the Rio Grande, even in the more or less democratic Mexico. In a dictatorship, working journalists can barely breathe, much less pursue a story.
If one asks the “wrong question” many things can happen, few of which are pleasant. Ask Univision’s news anchor, American citizen, Mexican-born Jorge Ramos.
Ramos was arrested this week, his equipment was confiscated, and he and his crew were thrown out of Venezuela — not because he declared support for anti-government demonstrators, but because he showed Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro video Ramos had taken of young Venezuelans scavenging in a garbage truck for something to eat.
Ramos is prideful of his professionalism as a journalist and heads to the “sounds of the guns” to pursue stories he feels his large audience needs to hear and see. Many Americans recall a give-and-take Ramos had with Donald Trump that, at the very least, entertained those who saw it.
Ramos and his crew headed to Venezuela to report on anti-government demonstrations called for by opposition leader Juan Guaido. To date, 50 countries — including Europe, the United States and most in Latin America — recognize Guaido as the legal interim president of Venezuela.
Ramos was fortunate. He escaped the fate that journalists around the world face when they are killed in the line of duty.
Of course, even American journalists face challenges. President Obama, for instance, routinely targeted reporters with subpoenas and deep background investigations.
Nonetheless, reporters in the West — with few exceptions — can do their work without much fear that they will be arrested for asking the wrong questions or taking the wrong photos.
“Journalists” such as Alex Jones and CNN’s Jim Acosta point to Judith Miller — who was imprisoned for refusing to divulge sources — and Fox News’ James Rosen — who was declared a “co-conspirator” by Obama’s Justice Department — as examples that prove the news industry is under siege.
But they’re wrong. Ask Jorge Ramos. He knows what it’s like to risk his life, get arrested and be thrown out of a country for asking questions a government doesn’t like.
America could use more journalists like that.
Raoul Contreras is the author of “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” He formerly wrote for the New York Times’ New America News Service.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.