Tue, Dec 11, 2018 - Page 9 News List

‘Killed for speaking the truth’: Nine journalists murdered in 2018

By Aamna Mohdin and Bibi van der Zee  /  The Guardian

More than 30 journalists — including Jamal Khashoggi — have been deliberately murdered so far this year. With the help of colleagues and relatives, or in their own words and pictures, we pay tribute to some of them here.

Maharram Durrani:

1990 to April 30, 2018

A trainee producer and presenter at Radio Azadi in Afghanistan, Durrani was one of at least nine journalists killed by a suicide bomb while making her way to work in Kabul.

“The bomb was a deliberate attack on journalists,” said Malali Bashir, a journalist, TV and video producer for RFE/RL’s Afghan service and a colleague of Durrani. “As they lost their lives one by one, the whole office was in shock. I can’t explain the situation we were in. We didn’t stop the broadcast. Everything was live... We were being professional, we were giving the facts, we were being balanced, but still, it was emotional because you lost a colleague that was in contact with you yesterday.”

“Maharram had been hired to work on a weekly program focused on women’s rights and women’s issues. She was the main financial supporter of her family. She told her father she would be like a son, she would be the breadwinner. Her father said she refused to get married because she wanted to keep supporting her family financially. He said she was very courageous and brave,” Bashir said.

“She was a soft-spoken, very modest person, but with great potential as a journalist. We don’t have many females on the ground, especially women who are very interested in covering issues related to women. This is a tragedy. She was still in training... She didn’t even finish the first program,” Bashir said.

Jefferson Pureza Lopes: Nov. 17, 1979 to Jan. 17, 2018

A producer and radio presenter for Rio Beria Rio FM in Brazil, Lopes fearlessly criticized local politicians and highlighted corruption. He was shot dead in his living room. No one has been charged with his murder.

On Nov. 19 last year, a few months before he was killed, the radio station at which Lopes worked was attacked and burned down. Lopes uploaded a Facebook video showing the wreckage and insisted the station would soon be back on air.

Ibrahim al-Munjar:

1992 to May 17, 2018

The correspondent for Syrian news Web site Sy24 was killed outside his house by an unknown group in May.

“Ibrahim was one of our stringers in the south,” said Ghaith Hammour, the founder of Sy24 and al-Munjar’s editor. “He did everything. We don’t have the luxury to have people in front of the camera and behind the camera. When he did videos for us, he was the cameraman, the storyteller and the story editor. He was the one who got the story. He’d tell us how he’d do it and we’d help him to make it better.

“One particularly great story he did was about the children living in Dara’a who, at the start of the revolution, did some graffiti calling for [Syrian President Bashir al-]Assad to go. Some of these kids were tortured and arrested. In 2018, Ibrahim followed up with one of these kids, now a man. It was one of the best stories he ever did,” Hammour said.

“He’d had several threats from ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] and from the regime. He moved house several times, but unfortunately he was killed in front of his house,” Hammour said.

“Ibrahim was so quiet, but he had a great eye and developed himself over the years and became one of the best cameramen in the area. When he died, our whole office was devastated. We don’t know who killed him,” Hammour said.

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