Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty: Foley, Sotloff Joined by Dozens Each Year

Memorial to journalists killed in the line of duty at the Newseum in Washington, D.C, bears the names of thousands of journalists. Photo by Sam Kittner/Newseum

A memorial to journalists killed in the line of duty at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Photo by Sam Kittner/Newseum

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

We know about James Foley. And we know about Steven Sotloff.

But how many of us know about Rodrigo Neto, a Brazilian journalist and the host of the show “Plantão Policial” (Police Shift) on Rádio Vanguarda who died in 2013 after being shot by unidentified men on a motorcycle? According to the Committee to Protect Journalists Neto died—like Foley and Sotloff—in the line of duty, aggressively covering local police corruption.

In the Philippines: ‘Your Coffin’s Already Made’

And how many of us are aware of the death  of Fernando Solijon, a radio commentator for DxLS Love Radio of Iligan City, Philippines? Solijon was shot and killed in 2013 after criticizing local politicians. On the day of his death, according to an account by the Committee to Protect Journalists, an anonymous caller threatened Solijon on the air with the words: “Your coffin’s already made.”

Philippine radio commentator Fernando Soiijon assassinated in 2013

Philippine radio commentator Fernando Soiijon, a journalist killed in 2013.

Reporters Without Borders reports 50 journalists killed around the world in 2014 so far—in places like Syria, the Philippines, Brazil and Palestine—in the course of doing their work. And that count doesn’t include media assistants and “netizen” citizen journalists.

The Newseum in Washington, D.C., maintains a memorial to journalists who’ve lost their lives on the job dating back to 1837. Right now the memorial bears the names of 2,256 reporters, photographers, broadcasters and executives from all over the world.

“The Journalists Memorial reminds us of the risks and sacrifices made by journalists around the world,” said Gene Policinski of the Newseum Institute. “Journalists face injury and threats, and some pay the ultimate sacrifice.”

Each year the Newseum rededicates its memorial and draws attention to some of the journalists killed on duty during the previous year. Earlier this year it added ten names.

From Mali to Russia: Journalists Killed

Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, Novoye Delo—in Russia

Yasser Faisal al-Jumaili, Freelance—in Syria

Mikhail Beketov Khimkinskaya, Pravda—in Russia

Mick Deane, Sky News—in Egypt

Ghislaine Dupont, Radio France Internationale—in Mali

Rodrigo Neto, Rádio Vanguarda and Vale do Aço—in Brazil

Sai Reddy, Deshbandhu—in India

Fernando Solijon, DXLS Love Radio—in the Philippines

Claude Verlon, Radio France Internationale—in Mali

Olivier Voisin, Freelance—in Syria

That’s only ten out of the 77 journalists that Reporters Without Borders estimates were killed world-wide in 2013. And that 77? They’re just the ones we know about.



  1. Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

    Agence France-Presse has announced that it won’t accept photos or stories from freelancers who travel to Syria and elsewhere that they would not send their own staffers. The news agency says it does not want to put journalists to that high a risk..

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