It's a dangerous world. With that fact and the very prevalent 24-hour news cycle, more and more journalists are being targeted, taken against their will, and sometimes even slain. Currently, The Press Freedom Barometer listed on the Reporters Without Borders website reports six journalists terminated and 166 imprisoned as of April 2019. Unfortunately, this number will likely rise. From Ukraine to Baghdad to Lebanon to inside the United States, the practice of enemies taking or harming reporters is not new. However, this horrible act has become more commonplace as the years have progressed.
The following list documents a handful of instances in which reporters have been taken or held at gunpoint around the world. We celebrate those who have returned home safely, mourn those whose lives were lost, and pray for those brave souls still unaccounted for.
Richard Engel is an American journalist and foreign correspondent who works for NBC News. On December 13, 2012, Richard Engel and his crew were dragged from their car in Syria. Throughout their capture, they were moved to various locations and psychologically tortured.
Held for a total of five days, it is still uncertain why they were taken and who was responsible.
Dimitar Kenarov (Crimea, 2014)
Dimitar Kenarov is a freelance journalist who has written publications in American and European media. On March 6, 2014, it was reported that Kenarov was accosted by masked men while in Crimea's Simferopol. The incident happened while he was sitting in a restaurant taking photos with his mobile phone.
Marked, armed men entered and put a gun to his head. They proceeded to take his phone, his friend's camera equipment and then sped off in an unmarked van.
Gregorio Jiménez De La Cruz (Veracruz, 2014)Video: YouTube
Gregorio Jiménez De La Cruz was a Mexican journalist who was taken on February 5, 2014. His remains were soon found along with those of two others in the municipality of Las Choapas in Veracruz. De La Cruz covered crime and security for the newspapers Notisur and Liberal del Sur, which recently included local abductions and aggression towards migrants.
The authorities determined that De La Cruz's neighbor, Teresa de Jesús Hernandez Cruz, paid off several hitmen to eliminate the journalist.
- Video: YouTube
On November 22, 2012, James Foley was taken by unidentified gunmen in northern Syria. An American freelance war reporter, Foley was no stranger to being grabbed, as he was held captive a year prior by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya.
In August of 2014, ISIS released a video of fighters removing the head of a man who has been identified as Foley.