james foley

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Blog   |   Security

A first step toward better safety for freelancers

Tanya Bindra, left, and Joey Daoud administer care to a training dummy during a battlefield medical response training workshop for freelance journalists provided by Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (RISC) in New York. (AP/RISC, James Lawler Duggan)

The murders of freelancers James Foley and Steven Sotloff last year put the news industry on the spot. What could news executives, press freedom groups, and individual journalists do to improve safety? The issue was not new. International news organizations had been grappling with their responsibility towards freelancers and locally hired media workers for years. Several had begun treating freelancers as they would their own staffers when it came to safety. Freelancers too had joined together under the Frontline Freelance Register to demonstrate that they were professionals and should be treated and compensated as such.

Press Releases   |   Security

New standards aim to protect freelancers at risk

Press freedom groups, journalists, and news organizations codify global guidelines

New York, February 12, 2015--A global network of freelance journalists, news media companies, advocacy organizations, and journalist safety groups today released a set of guidelines for freelance journalists working dangerous assignments and news organizations making such assignments. The guidelines represent unprecedented collaboration aimed at protecting freelancers in one of the most dangerous times on record for journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists was part of this task force.

February 12, 2015 5:30 PM ET

The News We Could Lose: New Threats to Journalism and Press Freedom

In conflict and crisis, journalists put themselves in peril to bring news to the world. With journalists being killed and imprisoned in record numbers, the Newseum presents a special program examining these threats and the rise of new strategies by terrorists and governments to suppress information.

February 4, 2015 11:04 AM ET

  |   Syria

Kenji Goto

On January 31, 2015, the militant group Islamic State released a video purporting to show the beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, according to news reports. Japanese authorities said the footage appeared to be authentic, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to "make the terrorists pay," according to reports.

A member of the militant group, who according to some news reports is the same man who murdered American freelancers James Foley and Steven Sotloff in 2014, claimed in the video that Goto, also known as Kenji Jogo, was killed in retribution for Japan's participation in a coalition set up to stop Islamic State, according to news reports. Japan was not involved in airstrikes carried out in Iraq and Syria since August, but it had offered humanitarian aid to countries fighting Islamic State.

Islamic State had previously released four messages about Goto. In a video released on January 20, the group threatened to kill Goto and another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa, unless it received a US$200 million ransom--the same sum the Japanese government had pledged in humanitarian assistance, according to news reports. On January 24, the group released a video, with an audio message purportedly narrated by Goto, saying that Yukawa had been killed and changing the ransom demand to the release of Sajida al-Rishawi, a would-be Iraqi suicide bomber imprisoned in Jordan. On January 27, Islamic State released a third message, again purportedly narrated by Goto, warning that if al-Rishawi was not released within 24 hours, Goto and Muath al-Kaseasbeh, a Jordanian pilot also held captive by the group, would be killed. The following day the group distributed a final warning that if al-Rishawi was not brought to the Syrian-Turkish border by sunset on January 29, al-Kaseasbeh, would be killed immediately.

In response to the threats, Jordanian officials said they would be willing to release al-Rishawi in exchange for al-Kaseasbeh and Goto, according to news reports. In a video released on February 3, Islamic State militants killed al-Kaseasbeh by locking him in a cage and setting him alight. After the video's release Jordanian officials said, without citing evidence, that al-Kaseasbeh had been killed on January 3, weeks before the public negotiations began, according to news reports. If true, the claim brings into doubt whether a deal to release Goto and al-Kaseasbeh had been on the table. None of the publicly released messages from Islamic State explicitly offered the pilot's release.

In 1996, Goto founded Independent Press, a news website covering conflict, refugee populations, and poverty. Major Japanese outlets, including NHK World and Tokyo Broadcasting System, featured its reports. The 47-year-old journalist had covered the Syrian conflict with a focus on its humanitarian impact since the start of the civil war.

He disappeared in Syria on October 25 and on December 2 his wife, Rinko, received a message from Goto's captors confirming his kidnapping, his wife explained in a statement given to the freelancer support charity Rory Peck Trust on January 29. Rinko said in the statement that Goto "went to Syria to show the plight of those who suffer," adding that she believes he "may have also been trying to find out about Haruna Yukawa's situation."

In a video filmed in Aleppo and posted on YouTube on October 25, Goto said he planned to travel to Raqqa, the Islamic State stronghold, to "get the story of what ISIS [Islamic State] wants to do in Syria." He said he understood he was entering dangerous territory and that he would take responsibility if anything happened to him. According to Japanese media reports, Goto had told friends he would be back in Japan on October 29 to speak at an event.

Several news reports, including one that cited Goto's fixer in Syria who filmed the Aleppo video, said Goto went to Raqqa in search of Yukawa, who was abducted in August. According to Reuters, Yukawa and Goto first met in Syria in April 2014 and traveled to Iraq together in June. In August, Goto told Reuters that Yukawa needed someone with experience to help him survive combat zones.

At the request of the family, the Committee to Protect Journalists did not publicize Goto's case until the release of the January 20 video.

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

January 31, 2015 4:27 PM ET

Alerts   |   Japan, Syria

CPJ calls on Japan to explore all options for journalist held in Syria

New York, January 22, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by a video released on Tuesday by the Islamic State militant group in which the group said it would kill Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto and another Japanese citizen, Haruna Yukawa, if it did not receive a US$200 million ransom within three days.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Classifying media and encryption as a threat is danger to press freedom

The U.K. prides itself on its commitment to free expression, but the latest revelations of surveillance of journalists and calls by Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, to ban secure messaging belie the country's drift toward a more restrictive environment for the press. The revelations further underscore the threat surveillance by Western democracies poses to journalism, a threat that prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists' Right to Report in the Digital Age campaign.

  |   Raporlar

Uluslararası çalışan gazetecilerin öldürülme oranı 2014'te yüksekti; Orta Doğu en ölümcül bölge

Suriye üç yıldır üst üste gazeteciler için dünyanın en ölümcül ülkesi. Uluslararası çalışan gazetecilerin öldürülme oranı 2014 yılında önceki yıllara göre artış gösterdi. Shazdeh Omari tarafından yazılan CPJ özel raporu

Gazeteciler Pakistan'daki bir eylemde Nisan ayında Afganistan'da öldürülen AP fotoğrafçısı Anja Niedringhaus'un fotoğraflarını taşıyorlar. (Reuters/Faisal Mahmood)

23 de Diciembre 2014 12:01 AM ET

  |   Relatórios

Elevada taxa de jornalistas internacionais mortos en 2014; o Oriente Médio é a região mais letal para a imprensa

Síria é o país mais fatal do mundo para os jornalistas pelo terceiro ano consecutivo. Jornalistas internacionais foram mortos em uma taxa maior em 2014 do que nos últimos anos. Um relatório especial do CPJ por Shazdeh Omari

Durante uma manifestação no Paquistão, jornalistas empunham fotos de Anja Niedringhaus, uma fotógrafa da AP que foi morto no Afeganistão em abril. (Reuters / Faisal Mahmood)

dezembro 23, 2014 12:01 AM ET

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Egypt, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mexico, Myanmar, Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine

Slideshow: Journalists killed in 2014

In 2014, at least 60 journalists and 11 media workers were killed in relation to their work, according to CPJ research. Local and international journalists died covering conflicts, including in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, while many others were murdered reporting on corruption and organized crime in their own countries.

Here, CPJ remembers some of the journalists who gave their lives to bring us this year's headlines.

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