The murder of any reporter for doing his or her job should always make a deep impression, however distant the conflict might seem from our lives.
One thing is sure: it is never distant from our interests. Our interests lie in the defense of press freedom wherever it is under threat. Recall the outrage and horror that Americans felt when the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was brutally killed earlier this year by Muslim fundamentalists. The loyalist fundamentalists who gunned down Martin O’Hagan in front of his wife equally deserve our abhorrence.
In the months that followed O’Hagan’s death, there was, in most quarters of Ireland, a noticeable lack of outrage, especially in the Irish Republic. It was just another example of what goes on “up there” in the North. But it was not just murder as usual. It was an attack on the people’s right to know the truth about the corruption and criminality that lies behind the paramilitary mask.
Let Martin O’Hagan’s murder be a grim reminder that there are no freedoms that we can take for granted.