Tag Archives: Press

2015 a Deadly Year as Journalism ‘Put Daily to the Sword’

At least 109 journalists and media workers were slain by ‘targeted killings, bomb attacks, and cross-fire incidents,’ new report finds

Written by Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-1-2016.
Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs, according to a survey of the verified incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project. Image via X-Index.

Journalists and media workers continue to confront relentless pressure as they do their jobs, according to a survey of the verified incidents reported to Index on Censorship’s Mapping Media Freedom project. Image via X-Index.

From targeted bombings to fatal crossfire, the year 2015 was violent and deadly for journalists around the world, particularly those based in the Americas and Middle East, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Friday.

According to a survey by the organization, at least 109 journalists and media workers were slain by “targeted killings, bomb attacks, and cross-fire incidents.”

While the Charlie Hebdo media workers killed in 2015 perhaps had the highest profile, the plurality of those struck down were lesser-known nationals of the Americas (27) followed by the Middle East (25), Asia-Pacific (21), and Africa (19).

Joel Aquiles Torres, owner of the Honduran TV station Canal 67, was one of those killed. He was “shot dead while driving his car in Taulabe in the department of Comayagua on 3 of July,” according to UNESCO.

Ali al-Ansari, an Iraqi journalist for Al-Ghadeer, was killed “while covering fighting between the Iraqi security forces and militants of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the Muqdadiyah area north of Baghdad,” IFJ reports.

“Sadly, there were scores of unreported killings, and unless the journalist is a well-known by-lined correspondent the world barely notices,” said IFJ president Jim Boumelha in a statement accompanying the report.

“Journalism is put daily to the sword in many regions of the world,” Boumelha continued, “where extremists, drug lords and reckless warring factions continue murdering journalists with impunity.”

The IFJ’s findings follow a separate round-up released earlier this week by Reporters Without Borders, known by their French acronym RSF.

According to RSF, which uses different criteria to establish their conclusions, at least 110 journalists around the world were killed in 2015 “in connection with their work or for unclear reasons.” The organization said it can definitively conclude that 67 of those people were “targeted because of their work or were killed while reporting.”

Most journalists directly targeted, or killed for unclear reasons, hailed from Iraq, Syria, France, Yemen, and South Sudan respectively, RSF revealed.

The organization noted that the majority of journalists knowingly killed in 2015—64 percent—were struck down outside of what is recognized as an official war zone. What’s more, last year’s grim tally brought the number of journalists killed since 2005 to 787.

While IFJ and RSF both reached slightly varying conclusions, both organizations agree that journalists across the globe are inadequately protected.

According to Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, the organization’s reports over the last quarter century “have clearly shown that journalists and media staff have become easy targets because there is very little respect for national and international laws that are supposed to protect them.”

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Grassroots Pro-Democracy vs. Corporate Control

Published on Friday, October 24, 2014 by Common Dreams

Bill Moyers: Grassroots Pro-Democracy Movement Must Rise to Challenge Corporate Control

By Jon Queally, Common Dreams staff writer

Ahead of final sign-off, veteran journalist tells viewers that reaching out to their fellow citizens and neighbors is the essential task in creating the transformation so desperately needed

Bill Moyers 2005. Photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Bill Moyers 2005. Photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In late September, veteran journalist and public television host Bill Moyers, now eighty-years old, announced he was finally retiring (and yes, this time he means it) after more than forty years as one of the nation’s most trusted voices in news, politics, and culture.

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Silencing Truth

Ayman Mohyeldin. Photo By Abdo26 (Own work by Ayman) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ayman Mohyeldin. Photo By Abdo26 (Own work by Ayman) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On the afternoon of July 16, Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent specializing in covering the Gaza Strip crisis, spent some time on the on the way back to his hotel, where he kicked a ball around with a group of Palestinian boys, age 9 to 11, all from the same family. He then proceeded to his hotel and the boys left the sidestreet and proceeded to the beach across the street from the hotel. Moments later, he witnessed an Israeli gunboat approach the beach and launch an attack. Instinctively, the frightened boys ran, and were gunned down on the beach.  Four of them died.

We aren’t going to go into Israel’s insistence that they are specifically targeting only military targets. We want to mention that the media center was one of the first targets in Gaza City when the latest incursion began. But what we want to really focus on here is what happened with this correspondent following his recounting of the event he witnessed. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

Ayman Mohyeldin is an Egyptian-American who speaks Arabic, integral to successfully reporting on the Middle East. He is highly respected and known for his accuracy. He has covered dozens of major Middle East events in the last decade for CNN, NBC and Al Jazeera English.

NBC has silenced him. Strangely missing, with the only excuse given as “security concerns,” he has been instructed to leave Gaza immediately. Is NBC protecting him from the Israeli decision to launch a ground offensive? If that were so, why would they turn around and send in Richard Engel, with a less experienced cameraman who speaks no Arabic, to report from within Gaza?

CNN correspondent Diana Magnay was re-assigned to Moscow after she referred to a group of Israelis who cheered the bombing of Gaza on Thursday as “scum” after a group of them threatened to burn her vehicle if she reported something they disapproved of. The comment was delivered via her Twitter post, not on the air. It has since been removed.

Al Jazeera staff and journalists have been sentenced to 7 and 10 years in Egypt for their coverage of both sides of the story. We hear reports, when they can get published, of other journalists that are held hostage and others that are killed. It appears that journalism has become a very dangerous profession.

Not telling a story does not change truth. History has proven that truth always surfaces over time. Those who choose to attempt suppression of the truth wish not to live in an enlightened world, but rather in darkness and atrocity. When there is justification for actions, the human tendency is tell everyone of the accomplishment.

What are you afraid of? Will silencing the messenger change the truth?

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