Reactions to killing of journalist James Foley
James Foley was remembered on Wednesday as a journalist who was passionate, persistent, big-hearted, always pushing closer to the story. The 40-year-old went missing in northern Syria in November 2012, and his death was shown in a video that militants with the Islamic State group released Tuesday to international outrage. The news brought an outpouring of respect and sorrow from friends, colleagues and others who were struck by Foley’s pursuit of humanity in what he once called “these barren places.”
Here are some of their reactions.
Foley’s father, John Foley
“Yes, there was a war. Yes, there was conflict, but there are people involved. And there are feelings involved and there are sacrifices involved, and he felt that was worth sharing. And I couldn’t agree more.”
President Barack Obama
“Jim was taken from us in an act of violence that shocks the conscience of the entire world. … All of us feel the ache of his absence. All of us mourn his loss. We keep in our prayers those other Americans who are separated from their families. We will do everything that we can to protect our people and the timeless values that we stand for.”
Gary Pruitt, president and CEO, The Associated Press
“The Associated Press is outraged by the killing of James Foley and condemns the taking of any journalist’s life. We believe those who kill journalists or hold them hostage should be brought to justice.
“Further, we believe the assassination of a journalist in wartime should be considered an international crime of war. The murder of a journalist with impunity is a threat to a free press and democracy around the world.”
“We ask our audience to consider refraining from watching or sharing the video of Jim’s killing or its associated images. The video is a graphic work of propaganda, intending to terrorize the public at the expense of an impartial, credentialed journalist whose objective was to chronicle the suffering in Syria, where more than 170,000 people have been killed.
“Jim cared deeply about the victims of war, and the rights of people living under oppressive regimes. He was an old-school reporter, who traveled light, talked to the locals and put the story first. His conflict reporting — from Afghanistan to Libya to Syria — exemplifies the intrepid and selfless work of someone willing to risk his life so the world could understand the horrors of modern war.”
The New York Times
Carol Giacomo wrote on Taking Note: The Editorial Page Editor’s Blog: “As Mr. Foley’s brutal beheading made clear, ISIS, a Sunni Muslim group, practices a perverted, nihilistic version of Islam that does an extreme disservice to millions of Muslims, both Sunnis and Shiites, pursuing more peaceful and purposeful lives.”
David Rohde, an investigative reporter for Reuters who was kidnapped by the Taliban and escaped, wrote in an opinion piece that Foley’s execution is “the clearest evidence yet of how vastly different responses to kidnappings by U.S. and European governments save European hostages but can doom the Americans. Hostages and their families realize this fully — even if the public does not.”
Rohde concluded: “A consistent response to kidnapping by the U.S. and Europe is desperately needed. The current haphazard approach is failing. James Foley must not die in vain.”
Committee to Protect Journalists
“The barbaric murder of journalist James Foley, kidnapped in Syria and held almost two years, sickens all decent people. Foley went to Syria to show the plight of the Syrian people, to bear witness to their fight, and in so doing to fight for press freedom,” said CPJ Chairman Sandra Mims Rowe. “Our hearts go out to his family, who had dedicated themselves to finding and freeing Jim.”
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