Journalist 'pays ultimate price'

The International News Safety Institute is shocked and saddened by the murder of the American journalist Steven Sotloff by Islamic State militants.

Sotloff was working as a freelance reporter covering conflicts in the Arab world when he was kidnapped in Syria in 2013. His kidnapping had been kept out of the media by his family, and news of it only came to light when IS militants threatened to behead him at the end of a video released last month showing the killing of fellow journalist James Foley. 

“Our thoughts are with Steven’s family, friends and colleagues at this sad time. We condemn his killing in the strongest words possible,” said INSI Director Hannah Storm. “Like James Foley, Steven was just doing his job – shining a light into the darkest parts of society. These two men, like so many other journalists this year, have paid the ultimate price for their tireless efforts.”

More than 80 journalists have died doing their work since the beginning of 2014. Just last week, four died, including Abdullah Murtaja who was fatally injured in an airstrike in Gaza City. Two journalists and a media worker – Irshad Mastoi, trainee reporter Abdul Rasul and accountant Mohammed Younus – were also killed last week when a gunman opened fire on their news agency office in Quetta, Pakistan. 

Both Sotloff and Foley were freelancers and the risks they face can sometimes be greater as they often operate with little support. Many travel to conflict zones without proper protective equipment or training and insurance, though most are extremely responsible and struggling against the odds to do their important work.

INSI strongly condemns the killing of all brave journalists going about their work – and urges authorities around the world to pursue those responsible for these acts, in order to send a strong signal that they will not tolerate their attempts to silence journalists.

(AP Photo)