BY Rodney Pinder

Blog: Je suis CJ

The real cost of our news is still killing us. INSI’s casualty report for the first six months of this year shows 49 journalists killed just for trying to do their job – of keeping us informed.

Most died not in war but in peacetime, in their own countries, trying to shine a light into the darkest corners of their societies.

Sadly, so far so usual, year after year.

This year, however, INSI Director Hannah Storm has gone behind the casualty window to shine a light on an unpublicised cost of our news.

Virtually unnoticed, citizen journalists – ordinary people with smart phones like you and me – are dying - on the death lists of the bloodiest regimes and terror organisations.

They are being targeted alongside professional journalists because they have taken on the job of telling the world what’s happening around their homes, in areas so dangerous that professional journalists daren’t enter.

As they watch the TV news or surf the web for information most people probably don’t realise that so many of the images from war zones such as Syria, Libya, Afghanistan come from ordinary people trapped by the horrors of war.

As the bombs fall and the shells explode and the bullets fly they take out their phones, video the action and file their footage on social media or to foreign news organisations.

At great risk to their lives, they record for the rest of us the death and destruction in their neighbourhoods in hopes their cries for help will be heard.

By doing so they are marked for death by vicious regimes as in Syria or by terror outfits like ISIS which executed five captured Syrian citizen journalists only a couple of weeks ago.

Thousands of brave Syrians have raised their smartphones to document a conflict that otherwise might have been hidden from the world.

No one knows the true toll of citizen journalists, by their very nature, although INSI has now pledged to try to record the deaths in future.

But a recent report from the Pew Research Center found that 65 citizen journalists were killed in Syria alone from 2011 to 2013.

In raging civil conflict anyone with a phone is an opponent of those with guns and murder at heart.

And unlike professional correspondents citizen journalists enjoy no protection, no safety training, no safety equipment and little financial  reward.

We should remember this the next time we pull out our phones at a newsworthy event and record a video hopefully to sell to a local news outlet.

In this sense we are all citizen journalists – and we are dying to tell the story.

Truly, je suis CJ.