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SPJ saddened to learn of second recent journalist execution


September 2, 2014

David Cuillier, SPJ President (PDT), 520.248.6242, spjdave@yahoo.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317.361.4134, jroyer@spj.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Society of Professional Journalists is saddened to learn of the news of a second U.S. journalist reportedly being executed in recent weeks by the Islamic State terrorist organization.

An internet video purportedly shows the execution of Steven Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines. He was last seen in Syria in August 2013, until recently, when he appeared in a video released online last month of the execution of fellow American journalist James Foley by ISIS. The White House has yet to confirm the death of Sotloff.

“Once again, we are angered to hear that another American journalist has been brutally murdered by thugs who have no regard for humanity or common decency,” said SPJ President David Cuillier. “Our thoughts and deepest condolences go out to Mr. Sotloff’s family, friends and colleagues. We are hoping for the safety of the thousands of other journalists who risk their lives every day to seek truth and report it.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, since 1992 more than 1,000 journalists have been killed serving the public — 30 so far this year. It was 12 years ago that Daniel Pearl of the Wall Street Journal also faced execution by terrorists.

"The more these murderers try to intimidate journalists, the weaker their position and credibility in the world,” Cuillier said. “Bullies will never deter reporters’ resolve to cover world affairs with dogged determination and professionalism.”

This should serve again as a reminder to those covering this story to adhere to SPJ's Code of Ethics and "show good taste and avoid pandering to lurid curiosity" as graphic photos and video appear on websites and social media.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit www.spj.org. 


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