CJP: The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned for all journalists, most of them Syrians, still held captive by the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State, which has repeatedly kidnapped, killed, and threatened journalists in the territories over which it holds sway. President Barack Obama confirmed today that the group is responsible for the barbaric murder of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley.
“Local and foreign journalists already knew that Syria was the world’s most dangerous place to be a reporter before the beheading of James Foley brought that knowledge to the general public,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The members of the Islamic State who murdered him use violence and intimidation to silence all independent reporting in the areas they control. Despite that, Syrian and foreign reporters like Jim Foley are prepared to put their lives at risk, in an attempt, in the words of another U.S. journalist killed in Syria, Marie Colvin, to ‘bear witness.'”
Syria has been the most dangerous country in the world for journalists for more than two years. In addition to Foley, at least 69 other journalists have been killed covering the conflict there, including some who died over the border in Lebanon and Turkey. More than 75 percent of the deaths came in crossfire or combat situations, but journalists have also been directly targeted by all sides of the conflict. More than 80 journalists have been abducted in Syria, an unprecedented number since CPJ’s founding in 1981. CPJ estimates that approximately 20 journalists, the majority of whom are Syrians, are currently missing in the country. [Continue reading…]
The Associated Press reports: A U.S. official says the Islamic State militants who beheaded American journalist James Foley in Syria had demanded $132.5 million — or 100 million Euros— in ransom for his release.
A second U.S. official says the demands were sent in emails to Foley’s family in New Hampshire. Both officials spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ransom demands by name.
Separately, Foley’s former employer said that the militants first demanded the money late last year.