These are difficult times to be a journalist. Home and away the industry reels from the perfect storm of a structural change brought about by the impact of the internet, massive under resourcing and in many instances a total disregard or downright antipathy for the work journalists do.

Here at home in the eyes of much of the general public, journalists are generally regarded as being about as worthy as something you would scrape off the sole of your shoe. Elsewhere in increasing parts of the world, they are seen at best as human collateral whose only value is ransom or a force to be eviscerated with extreme prejudice. In a world where the term ‘terrorist’ has so often become a catch-all phrase, increasing numbers of regimes who feel threatened by those who question injustice or cast light on malpractice are using the ‘T’ word to restrict press freedom. Only last week in Cairo a court handed down three year jail terms to three Al-Jazeera journalists claiming they had broadcast false news that harmed Egypt following the 2013 military coup. That such a verdict should be passed is a disgrace.

"The verdict sends a very dangerous message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth and reporting the news," was how human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney (wife of George Clooney) who represented one of the Al-Jazeera reporters summed it up.

As if to underline her remarks, the last few days have seen three more journalists this time from Vice News charged with “aiding a terrorist organisation”, because they have been covering clashes between Turkish security forces and the youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). If there is terrorism at work here then let’s call it for what it is, state inspired terror designed to intimidate censor, and curtail press freedom.

In Turkey’s case it has long languished at the bottom of press freedom tables. During 2012-2013 journalism organisations dubbed the country the “biggest prison for journalists,” because of the number of indigenous reporters arrested or jailed on orders of the state.

What a worrying state of affairs it is when countries around the world begin to use anti-terrorism laws for punishing legitimate journalism. Worrying too that this should happen in a world where tumultuous events right now more than ever need professional independent reporters to bear witness and make sense of them on our wider behalf.

Who else if not journalists should be turning the spotlight on the plight of refugees fleeing war and persecution in places like Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere giving a voice to people who have no voice?

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not getting all holier-than-thou about a profession that means many different things to different people, both consumers and producers alike.

But for far too long some have concentrated only on that which has been rotten in certain quarters of the fourth estate. Surely now the time has come

to recognise and support a profession under threat like never before and whose role benefits us all.

So much of journalism's potential power lies in its ability to prevent abuses of power, expose immoral, unethical or illegal behaviour by individuals, armies, governments or companies. It is at society’s peril that this is allowed to be eroded by the struggle to survive in a diminishing marketplace or that journalists become political targets for eradication.