General: Freedom Forum Adds 11 Names to Journalists Memorial, including journalists killed in Iraq and Syria

01.05.20

On Monday, 04 May 2020, the Freedom Forum adds the stories of 11 men and women to its Journalists Memorial to represent all journalists who died or were killed while reporting the news in 2019. Among the names are two Kurdish journalists killed in Syria and an Iraqi journalist. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) welcomes the addition of the three journalists from the region in which it works, and calls for those responsible to be brought to justice.

COVID-19 precautions forced the cancellation of a public ceremony, but the list of journalists being added this year, their stories and a video of keynote remarks by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Carol Guzy are available at www.freedomforum.org

Also, on 04 May, no newspapers will be displayed on the Today’s Front Pages website or app. In their place will be blacked-out pages featuring the hashtag #WithoutNews. This annual #WithoutNews campaign encourages people to consider what a world without journalists to report the news would look like. 

The Freedom Forum’s Journalists Memorial honors journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of truth. The 11 journalists who died in 2019 are now part of the memorial’s database, which tells the stories of 2,355 reporters, photographers, broadcasters and other media workers who died while reporting news and information, dating back to 1837.

Around the world, journalists place themselves in peril every day. Sometimes, they pay with their lives for doing their jobs. Some are deliberately targeted, while others get too close to danger. Today, the risks journalists face include the threat of illness and death for those on the front lines of reporting the coronavirus pandemic. International organisations that work to protect journalists say more than 40 journalists were killed reporting the news in 2019.

Khalid Ibrahim, GCHR’s Executive Director said, "As we approach World Press Freedom Day, I call on the Iraqi government to take full responsibility to protect journalists, in addition to all demonstrators in the sit-in squares where they gather. Also, the authorities must work sincerely to identify the perpetrators who killed the young Iraqi journalist Hisham Fares Al-Adami (picture on the left), as soon as possible and bring them to justice.” Al-Adami, 27 years old, was killed in Baghdad by a sniper bullet on 04 October 2019. He was one of the first journalists to die during popular protests which spread across Iraq last year. Adhamiya in Baghdad, was one of the first Iraqi journalists to sacrifice their lives while participating in and documenting the ongoing popular movement. He worked as a program director for Alsumaria Satellite Channel and a photographer for Almasar Satellite Channel.

Saad Ahmad (picture in the middle), a reporter for the Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA), and Mohamed Hussein Rasho (picture on the right), a reporter for Çira TV, were killed when Turkish forces bombed a convoy of civilians accompanied by Kurdish soldiers and journalists in Northeastern Syria on 13 October 2019. UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, condemned the fatal airstrike and said, “I must remind all parties to the conflict of their obligation to protect civilians, in line with the Geneva Conventions, and ensure the safety of journalists whose valuable service to society cannot be overstated, especially in times of war when people rely on the media for potentially life-saving information.”

The Freedom Forum has long been dedicated to educating the public about the importance of journalism and the dangers faced by its practitioners just for doing their jobs. With the closing of the Newseum and its Journalists Memorial gallery in 2019, the Freedom Forum is working with the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to establish a permanent public memorial to honor fallen journalists in Washington, D.C.

“We believe it is time for a national memorial on public land that will commemorate journalists who have sacrificed their lives to pursue the news,” said Jan Neuharth, chair and CEO of the Freedom Forum. “We are joining with the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to ensure that our country has a national commemorative memorial to journalists in our nation’s capital.”

Barbara Cochran, president of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation, said, “For 24 years, the Freedom Forum has honored fallen journalists annually and has created an archive of their stories that serves as a legacy and inspiration for all who value a free press. We are honored to support them as they announce the 2019 representatives. We are also proud to have the Freedom Forum’s support in working to build a public memorial in the nation’s capital to commemorate journalists who died in pursuit of the truth.”

The journalists recognised this year include:

In Ghana
Ahmed Hussein-Suale Divela
Tiger Eye Private Investigations

In Haiti
Néhémie Joseph
Radio Panic FM, Radio Mega

In Honduras
Leonardo Gabriel Hernández
Valle TV

In Iraq
Hisham Fares Al-Adhami
Freelance

In Mexico
Norma Sarabia Garduza
Tabasco Hoy, Diario Presente

In Syria
Saad Ahmad
Hawar News Agency (ANHA)

Mohammed Hussein Rasho
Cira TV

In Ukraine
Vadym Komarov
Dzvin Ukraine

In the United Kingdom
Lyra McKee
Freelance

In the United States
Carley McCord
Freelance, WDSU-TV

Nancy Parker
WVUE FOX 8