The horrifying murder of American journalist James Foley by Islamic extremists has shocked the world and provided chilling evidence of the brutality of the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS.
The video released of a masked terrorist beheading the freelance photojournalist is the latest atrocity of the group whose members have overrun parts of Iraq and Syria, as they rape, slaughter and plunder scores of civilians — Muslims, Christians and any other non-believers in the ISIS ideology.
President Barack Obama, whose administration has authorized air strikes in Iraq against ISIS operations, praised Foley for his courage and said the United States will not waver in its mission to “extract this cancer” of ISIS.
The death of Foley, 40, from Rochester, N.H., certainly illustrates the savagery of ISIS.
But it also is a grim reminder of the immense danger journalists face in a war zone or any regime which values its political interests over press freedom. Foley, kidnapped two years ago in Syria, is hardly alone.
The New York Times reports that he is among dozens of journalists — many of them freelance — who disappeared from Syria in 2012 and 2013. The fate of many remains unknown.
The international Committee to Protect Journalists reports on its website that prior to Foley’s death this week, 39 journalists around the world had been killed in 2014, largely for just trying to do their jobs.
Many more are imprisoned — 211, according to the committee’s most recent count — a figure that has been escalating since governments around the world expanded anti-terrorism and security laws in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.
Some have been beaten, tortured and are in failing health, the committee reports.
Few events rival the sheer horror of Foley’s execution. Yet the public should remember that somewhere in world, nearly every day, a journalist is risking incarceration or death by simply trying to report the news.
— Courier-Journal, Louisville