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Attacks on the Press   |   Libya

Lack of media coverage compounds violence in Libya

The mother, right, of photographer Nadhir Ktari, who disappeared with fellow journalist Sofiane Chourabi in Libya in September 2014, attends a demonstration held in solidarity with the missing pair, in Tunis on January 9, 2015. (Reuters/Anis Mili)

Near the end of August 2014, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates launched airstrikes against what were characterized as Islamist-allied militias fighting near Tripoli, Libya. Or maybe they didn't. The New York Times broke the story on August 25, 2014; Egypt denied it, the UAE didn't comment, and U.S. officials made seemingly conflicting statements.

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.


James Foley


On August 19, 2014, the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State posted a graphic video online that purported to show the execution of U.S. journalist James Foley. The next day, U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that the video was authentic.

Islamic State claimed to have executed Foley 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, reports said.

Foley's last known whereabouts were in Syria, where he was kidnapped in November 2012, but it is unknown where he was killed. The journalist, who had contributed to Global Post and Agence France-Presse, was traveling in Idlib province in northwest Syria toward the border with Turkey when his car was intercepted, Global Post reported, citing the account of a witness interviewed by a Turkish journalist. Two armed assailants forced Foley out of his vehicle, according to the report.

At the request of Foley's family, his disappearance was not made public until January 2013, when his family launched a campaign seeking his release. At the time of his abduction, no group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. In May 2013, Global Post and Foley's family said they believed he may possibly have been held in a prison by Syrian authorities. A May 2014 article in Vanity Fair magazine disputed the theory based on his location at the time of his abduction, and suggested he was being held by one of the radical Islamic militant rebel groups in Syria.

Foley had reported from conflict areas in the past. In 2011, he and two other journalists were held captive for more than 40 days in Libya by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. A fourth journalist who was traveling with them, Anton Hammerl, was shot and killed by Libyan forces when the group was seized. Foley later helped organize an auction to raise funds for Hammerl's three young children.

President Barack Obama condemned Foley's killing in a public address on August 20, 2014, as an "act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world."

August 20, 2014 5:17 PM ET

Alerts   |   Syria

Family of seized U.S. reporter seeks his release in Syria

New York, January 2, 2013--The family of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley today publicized the reporter's abduction in Syria on November 22. The family, which had previously asked that the kidnapping not be disclosed, launched a public campaign to seek his release. 

Blog   |   Libya, South Africa, USA

Audio slideshow: Supporting family of Anton Hammerl

Freelance photographer Anton Hammerl was killed in Libya on April 5, 2011. Friends of Hammerl are holding an auction May 15 to raise funds for his three children. James Foley elaborates.

May 14, 2012 5:05 PM ET



CPJ Impact

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, April 2012

CPJ launches Journalist Security Guide

CPJ launched the Journalist Security Guide recently, which provides reporters with concrete steps to minimize the dangers of digital and physical reporting. In the guide, Danny O'Brien, CPJ's Internet advocacy coordinator, and Frank Smyth, CPJ's senior security consultant, discuss the threats facing journalists and outline the relevant steps journalists should take in considering their safety.

The guide, which was created in consultation with prominent journalists such as Sebastian Junger, Umar Cheema, and Carolyn Cole, includes six videos and also features guidelines on protecting digital information, preparing for armed conflict, covering organized crime, and mitigating the risk of sexual violence.

To continuously present journalists with up-to-date security information, CPJ is also launching the Journalist Security Blog, a platform that features posts by CPJ and guest bloggers on safer mobile use, first-aid training courses, and new ways to ensure journalist safety. 

The Journalist Security Guide is available online in Arabic, English, French, and Spanish. It can also be downloaded in e-reader, iBook, and pdf formats.  

April 26, 2012 10:47 AM ET

Blog   |   Egypt, Libya, Security, Syria, UK, USA

To quote Marie Colvin: 'What is bravery, and what bravado?'

Not since the worst period of the Iraq war, or in the Balkans the decade before, have so many storied journalists been killed or seriously injured in such a short period of time. Inevitably, the spate of deaths leaves many journalists asking questions about whether and how much they are willing to risk their own lives, and possibly the lives of others. Many experienced journalists might agree on one thing: the decisions one makes about risk are among the most intimate decisions they will ever make.

Afrique, Afrique du Sud, Attaques contre la presse

Attaques contre la presse en 2011: L'Afrique du Sud

Le Congrès national africain, le parti au pouvoir a intensifié son contrôle sur les médias qui sont engagés dans des enquêtes sur son bilan en matière de pauvreté, de criminalité et de corruption, et qui ont soulevé des craintes au sujet de la durabilité des réformes démocratiques post-apartheid. En juin, le gouvernement a annoncé une nouvelle politique visant à utiliser le budget publicitaire de l'État pour récompenser les médias qui lui sont favorables. Les membres de mouvement des jeunes de l'ANC ont tenté d'intimider les médias qui ont enquêté sur les comportements prodigues et les affaires de son bouillant ex-leader, Julius Malema. Des jeunes ont agressé des journalistes couvrant l'apparition de Julius Malema lors d'une rencontre convoquée par son parti pour discuter de ses déclarations radicales. Le président Jacob Zuma, qui s'est rendu à deux reprises en Libye pour soutenir Mouammar Kadhafi, a été critiqué pour n'avoir pas tenu les autorités libyennes responsables dans l'affaire Anton Hammerl. En effet, les forces loyalistes à Kadhafi ont tué le photojournaliste sud-africain en avril, mais les responsables libyens ont dissimulé les informations sur la mort de M. Hammerl pendant plusieurs semaines. En octobre, des responsables sud-africains ont reconnu que la police avait exploité des conversations téléphoniques des journalistes Mwazili wa Afrika et Stephan Hofstätter. Les deux reporters ont fait face à des menaces et des intimidations suite à une enquête qu'ils ont menée en 2010 sur la corruption au sein de la police. L'ANC a annoncé plusieurs mesures restrictives, y compris un projet de loi qui permettrait aux fonctionnaires de classer pratiquement tout élément d'information du gouvernement au nom de « l'intérêt supérieur de la nation». L'Assemblée nationale a approuvé le projet de loi en novembre, et l'a soumis aux Conseils provinciaux pour approbation en fin d'année.

21 février 2012 4h55 ET

Attacks on the Press   |   South Africa

Attacks on the Press in 2011: South Africa

The ruling African National Congress bridled at news media scrutiny of its record on poverty, crime, and corruption, which raised concerns about the durability of post-apartheid democratic reforms. In June, the government announced a new policy to use state advertising expenditures to reward supportive media outlets. Members of the ANC's youth wing tried to intimidate media outlets that examined the affluent lifestyle and private business dealings of its fiery former leader, Julius Malema. Youth members assaulted journalists covering Malema's appearance at a party hearing convened to discuss his hard-line statements. President Jacob Zuma, who traveled to Libya twice in support of Muammar Qaddafi, was criticized for failing to hold Libyan officials accountable in the case of Anton Hammerl. Loyalist forces killed the South African photojournalist in April, but Libyan officials withheld information about Hammerl's death for many weeks. In October, South African officials acknowledged that police had tapped the phone conversations of journalists Mwazili Wa Afrika and Stephan Hofstatter. The two faced persistent threats and intimidation related to a 2010 story on police corruption. The ANC pushed several restrictive legislative measures, including a bill that would allow officials to classify virtually any piece of government information in the name of "national interest." The National Assembly approved the bill in November, sending it to the National Council of Provinces for consideration in late year.

February 21, 2012 12:34 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Libya

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Libya

Journalists worked in extraordinarily dangerous conditions during the eight-month uprising that ended 42 years of rule by Muammar Qaddafi and led to his death. Five journalists were killed amid fierce fighting between rebels and loyalists. Qaddafi's regime unleashed a widespread campaign to silence foreign and local journalists, detaining dozens in abusive conditions. In February, Qaddafi invited reporters to the capital, Tripoli, only to restrict them to the Rixos Hotel, monitor their every move, and prevent them from reporting on anything other than the government line. In their efforts to block news coverage, authorities also jammed satellite signals, severed Internet service, cut off mobile phone networks and landlines, and attacked news facilities. While the crumbling regime was able to orchestrate coverage for a time in Tripoli, it failed to prevent the press from disseminating information about rebel advances in the rest of the country. Press freedom violations persisted after the Libyan rebel government, known as the National Transitional Council, or NTC, took power in August. One journalist was brutally assaulted in Benghazi that month, and the NTC placed one pro-Qaddafi journalist under house arrest.

February 21, 2012 12:06 AM ET

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