james foley

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Blog   |   Syria

Journalist beheadings in Syria reignite debate over risk and safety for freelancers

Now that the initial wave of revulsion at the beheading of two young journalists has passed, the international media is wringing its hands and asking how it can spare others the heartbreak of the families of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

September 16, 2014 11:03 AM ET

Blog   |   Syria

CPJ joins call to free Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression staff

Today, CPJ joined 78 human rights and press freedom organizations in calling on the Syrian government to immediately and unconditionally release three imprisoned members of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. The center's director, Mazen Darwish, has been imprisoned since 2012 along with his colleagues Hussein Ghrer and Hani al-Zitani.

  |   Syria

Steven Sotloff

On September 2, 2014, the militant group Islamic State released a video that purported to show the beheading of freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, who held joint American and Israeli citizenship. The following day, U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed the video was authentic.

Sotloff was the second American murdered by Islamic State in a span of only a few weeks. On August 19, the group posted a video claiming to show the beheading of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley and threatening to do the same to Sotloff. Islamic State claimed to have executed the journalists in retribution for U.S. military intervention in Iraq. In August, the U.S. had launched air strikes in Iraq in an attempt to prevent militants from taking control of key areas, news reports said.

Sotloff, who wrote for outlets including Time and Foreign Policy, was abducted along with his Syrian fixer and driver in August 2013 shortly after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border, according to a Syrian familiar with the abduction who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. The Syrians were released in the following days, but Sotloff remained captive for more than a year, along with several other international journalists held hostage by Islamic State.

At the request of the family, CPJ did not publicize the case until the release of the video purporting to show Foley's murder. In a video released on August 27, 2014, Sotloff's mother, Shirley Sotloff, pleaded with the leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to show mercy and release her son.

As with Foley, it is not clear exactly where and when Islamic State murdered Sotloff.

September 3, 2014 2:34 PM ET

Blog   |   Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Security, Syria

Back-to-back display killings of journalists unprecedented

The apparent back-to-back murders of two American freelance journalists by the same group are unprecedented in CPJ's history. The beheadings on camera in a two-week period of first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff appear to be an acceleration of a pattern--dating at least to Daniel Pearl's killing in 2002--of criminal and insurgent groups displaying the murders of journalists to send a broad message of terror.

Statements   |   Syria, USA

CPJ condemns murder of US journalist Steven Sotloff

New York, September 2, 2014--The Islamic State militant group released a video Tuesday purporting to show the beheading of American freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, according to news reports. Sotloff, who was abducted in Syria in August 2013, would be the second American journalist murdered by Islamic State. In a video posted online on August 19, the group murdered American freelance journalist James Foley and threatened to do the same to Sotloff in retribution for U.S. military intervention in Iraq.

September 2, 2014 2:32 PM ET

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Impact   |   Iran, Oman, Syria, USA

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, August 2014

US-Africa Leaders Summit

President Barack Obama hosted the first US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. this month. The discussion focused on trade and investment, but CPJ helped put press freedom on the agenda. At a time of unprecedented growth and change in Africa, journalists are under increasing pressure, with spikes in repression from Ethiopia to Nigeria.

August 28, 2014 5:30 PM ET

Blog   |   Egypt

Solidarity in wake of Foley's murder inspires jailed Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy

Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fadel Fahmy has been languishing in an Egyptian prison since December. He is waiting for an appeal hearing on his seven-year sentence for "conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood," but it is the murder of American freelancer James Foley, rather than his own unjust sentence, that has made the Cairo bureau chief furious. Fahmy sees the solidarity in response to Foley's killing as an opportunity to gain global support for distressed journalists in Egypt.

Statements   |   Syria

CPJ welcomes release of US freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis

New York, August 24, 2014 - The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of American freelance journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who was held captive by the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra since October 2012, according to U.S officials and news reports. U.N. Secretary General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told CPJ Curtis was handed over to U.N. peacekeepers in the Golan Heights at 6:40 PM local time and transferred to U.S. representatives after a medical check-up. The release comes a week after the Islamic State group, which split from Jabhat al-Nusra, released a video last week showing the brutal murder of American freelance journalist James Foley and the threat to murder another American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

August 24, 2014 3:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ

Memorial gifts for James Foley

CPJ is deeply honored by the gifts we have received in memory of James Foley - a great journalist and friend to many at the organization. One hundred percent of these gifts will go to CPJ's Emergency Fund to provide direct aid to journalists at risk. If you would like to contribute, please consider making a secure online donation, or contact us at [email protected].

James Foley (AP/Steven Senne)

August 22, 2014 1:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Libya, Syria

James Foley - a journalist's journalist

James Foley in 2011. (AP/Steven Senne)

Amid the tributes and war stories that followed the brutal beheading of James Foley this week, one memory from a fellow hostage shone a light on a side of his character that his audience might not have seen: his empathy not only for the people he covered but also for the journalists he encountered.

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