National Geographic : 1981 Jul
IN THE HEAT of El Salvador's civil war, a leftist leader told reporters that the death of a journalist would "clearly ad vance the struggle here . .. so long as it was a member of the U. S. press. You are more powerful, more visible." A few months later, photographer Olivier Rebbot, a free lance working for Newsweek, was killed by a sniper bullet. He was the eighth journalist known dead or missing in covering that war since April 1980. It may have disappointed his murderers to find that he was French, not American. Half a world away, Senior Assistant Edi tor Robert Jordan was deliberately fired upon by a Somalia Liberation Front unit while preparing an article for our June issue. In Nicaragua in 1979, the point-blank murder by a government soldier of ABC-TV reporter Bill Stewart was filmed by his own crew. Covering the world has always had its risks, but these incidents stand as tragic tes timony that the loss of so many reporters in recent years is more than a twist of fate. Not long ago most developing nations sensitive to the power of pen and camera courted the foreign press. Today many still see it as a powerful force, but one to be controlled. The International Press Institute counts only 20 countries in the world with a truly free press. Even UNESCO fired a volley at press freedom when a study it commissioned recommended licensing reporters and issu ing ID cards in order to "protect" them. This idea, favored by Third World nations, has been dropped for now, but it reflects in creasing hostility toward a free press. This especially affects the GEOGRAPHIC, since we often require access to an area for long periods of time. Increasingly, this has become difficult or impossible. The Third World may justifiably feel that some articles distort its problems, may be in sensitive or even inaccurate. We can only hope it learns that a less-than-perfect free press is better than none and can come to agree with Thomas Jefferson, who said when we were a developing nation: "The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or news papers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter." EDITOR fGEOGRfAfPH1llC THE NATIONALGEOGRAPHICMAGAZINEVOL. 160, NO. 1 COPYRIGHT© 1981 BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY WASHINGTON,D. C. INTERNATIONALCOPYRIGHTSECURED July 1981 VOYAGER 1 AT SATURN Riddles of the Rings 3 From a billion miles out, an unmanned NASA spacecraftsends home spectacularviews of the haloedplanet. Rick Gore relateswhy the images astounded and edified scientists.A double supplement shows Saturnfull face and to scale in our solarsystem. Costa Rica Steers the Middle Course 32 Kent Britt reports on a peaceable land of prosperousoptimism where democracy works and armies are illegal-a true rarityamid Central America's mosaic of strife. Troubled Times for Central America 58 Politicalturmoil and violence still wrack most of the nations of the tropicalisthmus, whose promise and problems are detailedon a foldout map. Living With Guanacos 63 Tens ofmillions of thesefurry wild camels roamed South America until meat and pelt hunters devastatedtheirherds. Wildlife ecologistWilliam L. Franklinand his family spend months studying them in remote Tierradel Fuego. Buffalo Bill and the Enduring West 76 A man whose nickname became a legend really was the quintessentialWesterner-PonyExpress rider, Army scout, buffalo hunter, and master showman. By Alice J. Hall,with photos by James L. Amos. Bombay, the Other India 104 Fromglitteringskyscrapers to desperate slums, India's commercial capitalis one big paradox, John Scofield and Raghubir Singh discover. The Fungus That Walks i31 An oft beautiful something called slime mold lives among us, behaving like both plant and animal and creatingmicro-sculpture in the wild. Text by Douglas Lee, photographsby PaulA. Zahl. COVER: MultiringedSaturnglows with bands of color in afar-off springtime. Voyager I image with colors added by NASA.