August 25, 2014
Alexandra Owens, Executive Director/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Salley Shannon, ASJA Advocacy Chair / email@example.com
ASJA mourns the loss of fellow freelancer James Foley, urges United States' allies to stop paying ransoms
As an organization of freelance writers, we of ASJA, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, mourn the brutal murder of fellow freelancer James Foley by ISIS terrorists on the 636th day of his captivity in Syria.
When kidnaped, Foley was on assignment for the online outlet Global Post to tell the stories of civilians under siege in Aleppo.
Foley also was privately raising money for an Aleppo hospital whose doctors he'd interviewed in stories. By many accounts, Jim Foley was compassionate, practical and unusually level-headed.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), where Foley was well known, calls him "a journalist's journalist." Unlike many freelance war correspondents, Foley had a full-time security minder paid by Global Post. Having survived a previous captivity in Libya, he had experience in dicey situations. The CPC says 69 other journalists, most of them Syrian, have died, and 20 others -– names not released -– are captives.
Global Post's CEO says ISIS asked a ransom of 100 million Euros for Foley. (Approximately $130 million.) The United States and Great Britain do not pay ransom. Several European nations persist in doing so.
ASJA calls on our government to increase pressure on allied nations to stop the practice, which violates an international agreement and ups the risks of reporting in situations already inherently dangerous.
We in ASJA know well the sense of being compelled to tell stories, to bear witness. Foley and courageous journalists everywhere should not have to die for them.
Randy Dotinga, ASJA president
Salley Shannon, Advocacy chair