News of the August 19, 2014, murder of journalist James Foley broke not in the media but instead on Twitter. News organizations faced the agonizing questions of how to report on the killing and what portions of the video to show. If a group or individual commits an act of violence, and then films it, how can traditional news organizations cover it without amplifying the propaganda message?
New York, December 4, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of U.S. freelance journalist Luke Somers, who has been held hostage in Yemen for more than a year. Following a video released on Wednesday that showed the journalist pleading for his life, U.S. government officials issued press releases today publicly acknowledging that Somers was being held by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. CPJ did not previously report the case at the request of the family, who today released a statement about the kidnapping.
A climate of impunity reached a tragic culmination on November 23, 2009, when gunmen ambushed a caravan escorting political candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu as he prepared to file papers to become a candidate for provincial governor in the Philippines. The attackers slaughtered 58 people, among them 30 journalists and two media workers, the largest toll of journalists murdered in a single act since CPJ began keeping track in 1992.
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.
New York, August 11, 2014--A Kurdish journalist was killed in Makhmur district, south of the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, on Friday when shrapnel from mortar shelling hit her in the chest, according to news reports. Deniz Firat, a freelance reporter, was covering clashes between Kurdish forces and insurgents with the Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda splinter group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, the Firat News Agency said.
On Sunday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced a new policy requiring that travelers to the United States turn on their devices at the request of airport security personnel. Devices that cannot be powered on will be barred from the aircraft, and passengers in possession of such devices may also be subjected to additional screening. While a number of commenters have lamented the policy change on the grounds that it is likely to cause confusion and otherwise inconvenience passengers, the move could also aggravate the risks journalists already face when traveling with sensitive materials such as notes, unpublished photographs, or information about sources.
Istanbul, June 18, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a Turkish court's decision on Monday to censor media coverage of a hostage crisis in the Iraqi city of Mosul. Last week, insurgents led by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State in Iraq and Sham abducted at least 80 Turkish citizens, including 49 consulate staff and their families, according to news reports.
New York, May 15, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is relieved by a report by the Times of London that said two of its journalists escaped captivity near the Turkish border in Syria on Wednesday. Anthony Loyd, a correspondent, and Jack Hill, a photographer, escaped their unidentified assailants with the help of the rebel group Islamic Front, the paper said.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.