Men claiming to be part of terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) posted a video allegedly showing the beheading of freelance photojournalist James Wright Foley, who disappeared in northwest Syria on November 22, 2012. The White House said they have not yet confirmed the authenticity of the video. More on this story will follow as it develops.
Egyptian opponents of deposed president Mohamed Morsi hold up a poster of army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on July 26, 2013 during a protest in Cairo. Tens of thousands of anti-Morsi supporters gathered in response to a call by the army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Egyptians to show their support for a security clampdown on “terrorism”. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMED EL-SHAHED
Secretary of State John Kerry went to Egypt last weekend to renew US-Eqypt ties and to offer its new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, swift restoration of military aid. Unfortunately in less than 24 hours of Egypt’s aid being restored, a judge on Monday convicted three journalists from Al Jazeera’s English-language network of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast ‘false reports’. One was sentenced to at least seven years.
Two Associated Press journalists were shot in Khost province, Afghanistan: Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus on April 4, 2014. Anja Niedringhaus died in the attack. Kathy Gannon was also wounded but survived.
From the editorial in the Los Angeles Daily News (April 9, 2014)
The New York Times staff photographer Tyler Hicks was nearby when gunmen opened fire at an upscale Nairobi mall, killing at least 39 people in one of the worst terrorist attacks in Kenya’s history. He was able to go inside the mall as the attack unfolded. Here’s what he saw: NY Times Lens Blog Sept 21, 2013
It’s interesting to note that with all the concern about Mali as a haven for terrorists, the New York Times doesn’t even seem to have a correspondent there. A page one story on March 18, talking about possible U.S. involvement is datelined Mauritania, which is on Mali’s northwest border. The French made headlines by sending in troops in January to push back Al Qaeda forces from the cities of Gao and Timbuktu. There were stories of grateful citizens thanking the arriving French troops, but beyond that nothing much except puffery about how President Francois Hollande’s poll numbers have shot up. Paris Match reported that Monsieur Flan had become Mr. Big after the lightening fast and unexpected move. There is such a lid on battlefield reports that Reporters Sans Frontieres claims that at one point, 50 journalists were rounded up and flown out of the country. No one else seems to have reported that or confirmed that, but with no one there to report on it, who knows? The French weekly, Le Point says “the French Army has confirmed its nickname of ‘grand mute’ by locking up information on its operations.”
Photographers on assignment in Oakland, Calif., are robbery targets to such an extent that they need security guards to accompany them. The New York Times reports that the Oakland Tribune’s chief photog, Laura Oda, has had her cameras taken twice at gunpoint. Police say they have no idea where the secondary market is for the equipment, because it’s not showing up through the usual fences.
Things have gotten so bad for journalists in Syria that The Sunday Times of London is refusing to accept freelancers photographs from the conflict. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in a Feb. 6 posting, the paper for which American Marie Colvin was working when she was killed last year in Homs, doesn’t want to encourage those willing to risk their lives to get the story out. The site reports that 28 journalists were killed in Syria “in combat or targeted for murder by government or opposition forces,” as of mid-December, 2012. CPJ says two more have so far been killed this year in Syria.
CPJ quotes Paul Wood, a BBC Middle East correspondent who covered Iraq and numerous other wars, as saying the Syrian conflict “is the most difficult one we’ve done.” Bashar al-Assad’s government sought to cut off the flow of information by barring entry to international reporters, forcing Wood and many other international journalists to travel clandestinely into Syria to cover the conflict. “We’ve hidden in vegetable trucks, been chased by Syrian police—things happen when you try to report covertly.” http://www.cpj.org/