Last year saw the well publicised and brutal murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley at the hands of extremist group ISIS. Both murders were delivered as a video message in order to deter the US from making further air strikes in Syria. This prompted President Barack Obama to state the US would “do what we must to protect our people.”
The graphic content is only made possible through the availability of social media and online platforms, which raises the argument that terrorism is more of a threat when it as a result of how easily it can now be expressed. Jihad Jake was subjected to the harsh reality of the powers of social media, as he was convinced online to fight for the Islamic State.
Despite this, is it possible for us as a society to simply stop reporting on terror related crimes in order to cease the publicity given to to terrorist groups such as ISIS? Earlier in the year a Japanese journalist was denied access to Syria due to fears he would suffer the same fate as Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist similarly beheaded by the ISIS extremist group. A report from the International Press Institute, the deadliest place for journalists was indeed Syria, with 36 deaths in 2012.
Lyndsey Addario from the New York Times believes that foreign correspondents are particularly targeted on overseas missions. “A lot of the attention is on foreign journalists who go in, and that’s because we do have a voice. We go home and we can go on talk shows and write articles about what happened”
According to CNN 34 journalists were killed in 2014, and already in 2015 the death toll stands at 27. This figure alone represents the danger of reporting overseas, particularly in hostile environments such as Iraq and Syria.