As a Palestinian journalist, I wouldn’t imagine covering any event without wearing my press vest. How am I going to cover demonstrations without wearing this protective shield? I might end up dead!
It is a heavy, protective suit. It makes you feel like you are suffocating when you first put it on. But then you get used to that heavy thing that covers your chest. It might be annoying to wear while working, but you must put it on, and make sure it is completely secured. Any mistake here could cost you a very serious injury or even your life. Eventually you are going to be glad to wear it, because this heavy shield protects your heart and soul.
Being afraid while covering news is a mixed feeling of fear and courage at the same time. I am trying hard to keep it together to get my job done perfectly without any harm, even if I am frightened at the same time. I should have more than two eyes in order to be aware of everything happening around me, and to be able to cover the news at the same time without a blink or inflection.
No laws, obligations or authorities can protect me from getting shot with a live or a rubber bullet. This is the price I have to pay as a journalist. The press vest makes me feel safe. It is only relative safety, I can still be suffocated by tear gas. I might also be arrested. And so, the press vest might save me from getting shot, but does not save me from being harmed.
Journalism is always looking for the truth, which sometimes makes those who try to access it pay a heavy price, even their life, for their time and effort.
When a journalist starts to cover any event or situation, at dangerous times like wars, armed conflicts, or even a peaceful demonstration that turns into riot, the press vest is a necessity.
We, as journalists, have to face a range of threats while performing our duties, trying to form an honest news story that presents the truth to the whole world, and so the press vest is the only shield we have in order to make this truth available.
Text: Lubna Saheb