Updated: Dec 31, 2022
Democracy Dies in Darkness is the official slogan of the Washington Post. It is a beautiful slogan that defines how journalism and freedom are connected. It is a personal story. It is the story of my life.
Investigative journalist Jeff German was murdered this past Saturday. He was murdered for writing a story on a politician's alleged misconduct. This breaking story contributed to the primary election loss for a Las Vegas elected official, Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles.
What happened next was far more tragic than the killing of a man. The Investigative Journalist was found murdered. The chief suspect based on DNA is the County Administrator Robert Telles.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said, "Every murder is tragic, but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome.”.
Sheriff Lombardo's words open a wound in my soul. A wound that I have spent a lifetime trying to mend.
I am a Venezuelan investigative reporter. This was my chosen passion because I believed that the journalist kept a country and its people free. We preserve the rights of our country by reporting on our politicians. We were on the front lines in finding and reporting corruption. We were the counterweight to the abuse of power of our government.
So many of my fellow reporters were forced to flee from Venezuela. Freedom of the Press was no longer allowed. Reports that the government did not agree with, were also no longer allowed. Independent journalism ended and a dictatorship took its place.
My new home is the USA. I was so proud to go to a country that had as its very first amendment Free Speech and Freedom of the Press. I felt that my new country was a safe haven from ever becoming a dictatorship. That government abuse in the USA would be limited by the good work of investigative journalism.
The slogan of the Washington Post that Democracy dies in Darkness is telling my story. I saw my home country lose its democracy because the independent reporting in Venezuela was shut down. When Venezuela lost its safeguard, it lost its democracy.
The Chief of Police words are so true. When a politician kills a journalist for reporting on potential corruption, he has done far more than kill a person. He killed a little piece of this country's democracy. He killed those who are the front lines to protect our Freedoms and Rights.
My heart goes out to the family of Investigative Journalist Jeff German. I wish to alert my readers that a government has to guarantee the safety for investigative journalist. They are the true guardians of the freedoms we hold so dear.