April 16, 2024

Press Freedom

OPC Abhors ISIS Treatment of British Journalist

NEW YORK, New York – Sept.18, 2014 – The Overseas Press Club of America abhors the video released by the Islamic State featuring a captive British journalist as some kind of spokesman.

The video, which YouTube eventually removed, shows journalist John Cantlie dressed in an orange jumpsuit. In it, Cantlie recalls how he was captured by the militant group ISIS after he arrived in Syria in November 2012, and speaks of what he described as the foolhardiness of yet another United States-led military commitment abroad. He says the group had released other European hostages and that he felt “abandoned” by the British government.

Cantlie is a former war photographer and correspondent for The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sunday Telegraph.

The OPC is appalled to issue its third statement in a month condemning the brutal treatment of journalists by the Islamic State. The Cantlie video followed the release of others over the past few weeks showing the decapitation of Americans John Foley and Steven J. Sotloff.

Cantlie, Foley and Sotloff went to Syria to report on the civil war. They have been seized and turned into symbols for things they do not control.

The Islamic State and others who try to suppress the truth will find the international journalism community will keep doing their jobs in Syria, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Gaza and wherever there is an important story to tell.

“To use a hostage in this way is a new kind of perversion and evil. Whatever this group’s goals, they will not be met through terror and propaganda,” said Marcus Mabry, president of the Overseas Press Club of America.

The OPC has represented internationally focused journalists and their rights and those of a free press for more than 75 years.