Journalists face rising threats in trouble spots - watchdog

2017-02-21 16:10
James Foley. (Steven Senne, AP)

James Foley. (Steven Senne, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Journalists in conflict zones are facing unprecedented threats amid a rise in violent non-state actors, a decline in rule of law and increased reliance on freelancers, a media watchdog said on Tuesday.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a 28-page report that more needs to be done to ensure the safety of reporters deployed to global hot spots.

"The collapse of old political structures, the rise of militias, the failure of Western governments to rein in repressive regimes, and the disruption of the news industry by technology have churned up the threat landscape for journalists globally since the 1990s," the CPJ report said.

The report noted that journalists increasingly have become targets since the early 2000s, citing the 2002 kidnapping and videotaped beheading of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.

"His death signalled a new era in which violent non-state actors use journalists as pawns in asymmetrical warfare with foreign powers," the report said.

Dangers persist

The killings by the Islamic State organisation of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, which were broadcast on social media, raised public awareness, but dangers persist, according to CPJ.

"The risks include kidnapping for ransom or political gain, and murder by insurgents who see journalists as surrogates of an enemy too powerful to attack directly," said the report.

"Journalists are caught in crossfire or targeted by drug cartels as a warning to other unwelcome reporters. While technological changes enable more people to engage in acts of journalism, those same changes bring new risks, such as surveillance and tracking."

Some major big news organisations have taken steps to increase safety, but freelancers and local journalists often lack resources and training, according to the report.

In the wake of kidnappings, a number of international news organisations agreed to a set of principles which call for treating freelancers as they would staff, the report noted. But because the guidelines are voluntary, not all organisations follow them.

Some positive signs have emerged, including a greater awareness of the threats and better co-operation among members of the media, it added.

"I think the networks are stronger now than they were 10 years ago, and even stronger than five years ago," Judith Matloff, a journalist and media safety instructor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, said in the report.

"People are working together more and I think that's absolutely critical."

Read more on:    steven sotloff  |  james foley  |  us  |  social networks  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.