Entries in Journalist (6)


Another Senior Pakistani Journalist Killed 

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Another senior Pakistani journalist has been killed, again in Pakistan's northwest, ABC News confirms.

Mehmood Jan Afridi, President of the Qalat Press Club, was in a shop when gunmen opened fire and killed him.

Two days ago, a reporter for GEO News, Malik Mumtaz, was targeted and killed.

Afridi's death marks the fifth killing of a journalist in the last two months.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Family of Abducted US Reporter in Syria Pleads for Answers

Nicole Tung(NEW YORK) -- James Foley's family is making an all-out media push to get answers about the 39-year-old freelance journalist's abduction in Syria last Thanksgiving.

Foley, who was working for The Global Post, was reportedly driving his car in Idlib Province when men brandishing knives allegedly forced him out of the vehicle and kidnapped him.

Last week, Foley's family held a press conference to read a statement about his abduction and on Tuesday, his mother, Diane, appeared on NBC's Today to ask for information about where her son might have been taken.

Diane explained that her son was an objective reporter who "really cares, particularly about the vulnerable ones, the children in the midst of the war, and the civilians in the midst of it all."

Foley's brother, Michael, added, "He’s an innocent journalist who is doing his job, and to appeal to the people that are holding him, to release him safely, to release him unharmed."

While covering the civil unrest in Libya nearly two years ago, Foley was abducted and held by government forces for six weeks.

However, Diane said that kidnapping was different because Foley was taken in full view of others.  In Syria, all the family can go by is hearsay.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


China Kicks Out Foreign Journalist

George Doyle/Thinkstock(BEIJING) -- China has kicked out an accredited foreign journalist for the first time since 1998.

Observers fear that the decision to expel Melissa Chan of the Al Jazeera English-language television network is an indication that China is cracking down on foreign media in an attempt to control coverage going forward, particularly during a year of government transition that has already seen two major stories erupt.  Chan’s expulsion was not related to either story.

Coverage of the Bo Xilai scandal, which involved a top politician, corruption and allegations of murder, has been stymied. So has public discourse on any potentially sensitive topic. 

Online censorship is rampant. China ranks 174th out of 179 countries (just ahead of Iran and Syria) on press freedom, according the Reporters Without Borders.  But longtime China hands also say the situation has improved in China, at least for foreign journalists, and that periods such as these are all part of the job of reporting in China.

Melissa Chan, a U.S. citizen, covered China for five years as the Beijing-based correspondent for Qatar-based Al Jazeera.  She reported extensively on sensitive topics, including the imprisonment of petitioners from the countryside in unofficial “black jails” and the annual anniversary of the June 4, 1989, massacre of democracy protestors.

In a Twitter feed posted Tuesday from the United States, Chan wrote, ‘Yes my press credentials have been revoked and I will no longer report f/China.’

She is expected to begin a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in California in the fall.

The director of Al Jazeera has defended Chan and the network, saying in a statement, “We constantly cover the voice of the voiceless and something that calls for tough news coverage from anywhere in the world.  We hope China appreciates the integrity of our news coverage and our journalism.”

Repeated attempts by Chan to renew her journalist visa were denied by the Chinese government until she could no longer legally remain in the country.

Al Jazeera said in a statement that China was not granting permission to replace Chan, forcing the network to close its English-language service’s bureau.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Western Journalists Killed in Syria

Dave M. Benett/Getty Images(PARIS) -- A U.S. and a French journalist were killed in the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday, the 19th day of intense shelling by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad bent on quashing a growing opposition.

The deaths of American Marie Colvin and Frechman Remi Ochlik were confirmed by French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.  They come less than a week after New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid died in northern Syria from an apparent asthma attack and a day after well-known Syrian opposition journalist Rami al-Sayed died in Homs.

A Long Island native, Colvin wrote for the British Sunday Times.  Like Shadid, she was considered one of the best foreign correspondents in the world, covering global conflicts for decades.  Ochlik was a freelance photographer who recently won a 2012 World Press Photo prize for a photo from the Libyan revolution.

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In a statement, the editor of the Sunday Times called Colvin an "extraordinary figure."

"She believed profoundly that reporting could curtail the excesses of brutal regimes and make the international community take notice," John Witherow wrote.  "Above all, as we saw in her powerful report last weekend, her thoughts were with the victims of violence."

Colvin and Ochlik were in a house in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, the district hit hardest by what residents have described as almost three weeks of relentless shelling that has left hundreds dead.  Video posted to YouTube purported to show their bodies in a house destroyed by tank shelling.

Activists say 10 Syrians were also killed and three other journalists were injured, including Colvin's photographer Paul Conroy, who the Times believes is "not too seriously hurt."

Colvin filed a report for the BBC on Tuesday, saying Baba Amr and its residents are besieged.

"It's absolutely sickening," she said. "The Syrians will not let them out, and are shelling all the civilian areas.  There's just shells, rockets and tank fire pouring into civilian areas of this city.  It is just unrelenting."

Colvin lost an eye from a shrapnel wound in Sri Lanka in 2001, an injury that she said "is worth it" in a 2010 speech on the dangers of conflict reporting.

"Covering a war means going to places torn by chaos, destruction, and death...and trying to bear witness," she said at a memorial for fallen journalists.  Someone has to go there and see what is happening.  You can't get that information without going to places where people are being shot at, and others are shooting at you."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Frenchman Is First Western Journalist Killed in Syria

KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- French TV reporter Gilles Jacquier became the first Western journalist to be killed in the 10-month government crackdown on dissidents in Syria.

Watchdog group Reporters Without Borders said that Jacquier was the victim of a mortar attack while on assignment in the city of Homs, one of the hotbeds of violence in Syria.

It's believed that a civilian also died in the assault, while at least one other journalist and a number of civilians were wounded.

Covering the situation in Syria is especially dangerous for Western journalists because of a news blackout imposed by the government of President Bashar al-Assad in an effort to keep the rest of the world from learning about the true extent of the bloody crackdown that he's denied imposing.

The United Nations estimates that more than 5,000 people have died since al-Assad's forces began their assault on pro-democracy protesters in mid-March 2011.

Jacquier, an award-winning journalist, had worked for France 2 TV since 1999 and covered fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Israel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


French Journalist Alleges IMF Head Attacked Her in 2002

Brian Harkin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is currently being held in a New York City jail on sexual assault charges, allegedly attempted a similar assault on a 22-year-old French journalist in 2002.

The head of the International Monetary Fund was removed from an Air France flight just before it departed New York Saturday night and charged with the attempted rape of a maid at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.  On Monday, a New York City judge denied him bail after prosecutors argued they were investigating reports that Strauss-Kahn had "engaged in similar conduct at least once before."

French journalist Tristane Banon has accused Strauss-Kahn, a prominent French politician who was considered a potential candidate for president in next spring's elections, of attempting to assault her when she interviewed him nearly 10 years ago.

Banon recounted her harrowing experience with Strauss-Kahn as part of a French television show 93, Faubourg Saint-Honoré, that aired on the French cable TV channel Paris Première in February 2007.

"It ended up violent... I kicked him several times, he unbuttoned my bra...and tried to unzip my jeans," Banon said on the show.

Banon recounted the story of the 2002 alleged attack while filmed sitting at a dinner table with guests, each one telling of his or her bad experience with a politician.  Strauss-Kahn's name is covered up by a beep on the show, but Banon has subsequently confirmed she was talking about Strauss-Kahn.

At the time of the alleged attack, Banon had arranged to meet with Strauss-Kahn to interview him for her first book, Admitted Mistakes, in which she queried politicians about the greatest error of their careers.

Banon said in the clip that Strauss-Kahn told her to meet him at an address that turned out to be an apartment that was empty except for a bed and a video camera.  Banon said she was "surprised" when told to meet him there since she knew where he lived and worked.

Once inside, Banon said, Strauss-Kahn insisted that she conduct the interview "holding his hand."

Banon said that the hand-holding turned into sexual advances and that Strauss-Kahn became violent.  They fought on the floor of the apartment.  "When we were fighting, I used the word 'rape' to scare him," said Banon, which she said did not stop Strauss-Kahn.  Ultimately, she fought him off and left.

Banon claimed that after the alleged assault, Strauss-Kahn continued to send her text messages asking her if she was "scared."  On the show, Banon also said, "No young girl wants to work for him anymore at the National Assembly."  She added that she told her story to a well-known lawyer whom she said had a huge file on Strauss-Kahn.

Banon's mother, Anne Mansouret, a Socialist Party official, said in recent interviews that the event was extremely traumatizing for her daughter.

"She fell into a depression [following the attack]," Mansouret told France's Channel 3 News Monday.  Mansouret said her daughter's life was strongly affected by the attack, and that she was afraid that the incident would define her career as a journalist.

Banon did not file charges at the time, but her lawyer David Koubbi reportedly says that she is now seriously considering it, and that she held back in the past because her mother counseled her against it.

Koubbi told RTL Radio Monday he is likely to file suit for Banon now because "she knows she'll be heard and she knows she'll be taken seriously."

Mansouret told French reporters that she was concerned at the time that the incident would have negative repercussions on Strauss-Kahn's family, and that she had viewed Strauss-Kahn as a "nice man."  She now says she regrets counseling her daughter against filing the charges.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, has denied the charges of sexual assault in New York and will plead not guilty, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said.

Before last weekend's scandal, Strauss-Kahn was considered a front-runner for the French presidency.  A leader of the Socialist political party, a former cabinet minister and member of the French National Assembly, Strauss-Kahn had recently outpolled incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy.  Though his term as IMF chief, which began in 2007, would not be over until 2012, he was expected to leave in order to focus on the presidential race.  The election, which involves two rounds of voting, is scheduled for April and May 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio