Reporter World provides a variety of safety equipment, identification products, specialized high-visibility clothing, pertinent news, product reviews, book reviews and useful links specifically for reporters, writers, assignment editors, news correspondents, journalists, ENG crews, photographers, production staff, directors, segment producers, media security personnel, and freelancers: in short, anyone who is part of the news gathering, information reporting, or documentary film industries.
Whether you're already in-country or preparing for your overseas assignment, keeping up-to-date on important news that affects reporters, correspondents, writers and other information gatherers is vital. In this section, we outline important stories relating to safety and security of reporters, writers and others. We also list important developments in our industry and the passing of key individuals within the community.
Other good places to look for news about missing, detained, imprisoned, tortured or murdered reporters are the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders) and the New York-based, Committee to Protect Journalists.
Please note that all stories are listed in reverse chronological order within each year as indicated. That is, the most recent stories are listed first within each year and as stories are added, older reports are "pushed down" toward the bottom of this page. If you want to add a story, please contact us using the feedback address on our Terms of Service page. If you wish to remain confidential, we suggest using a Hotmail or Yahoo account to send us your tip.
You can also read news stories from other years by clicking on the applicable link in the menu on the left.
November 17, 2008 Russian court makes Politkovskaya trial open
MOSCOW, Russia In a surprising move, a Russian court here has ruled not to ban reporters from the trial of three men accused in the killing of journalist Anna Politkovskaya. This means there is a possibility for an open trial in which details of the much criticized and delayed investigation might be made public.
Ms. Politkovskaya was murdered in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in 2006. She had widely written on human rights abuses in Chechnya allegedly committed by both sides of the war there. It is widely thought that this criticism embarrassed both the Kremlin and President Putin who closely linked himself with the war in the breakaway region as well as the resurgence of Soviet-style nationalism within Russia. Ms. Politkovskaya's assassination sparked local and international outrage with many Western governments urging an independent investigation into the affair.
According to Russian prosecutors, the man wanted for the actual murder, Mr. Rustam Makhmudov, has fled the country and his whereabouts are unknown. Three men have been charged with lesser offences: Mr. Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, a former Moscow police officer, and Mr. Makhmudov's brothers, Ibragim and Dzhabrail.
November 14, 2008 Mexican journalist murdered
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico Mr. Armando Rodriguez, a crime reporter working for El Diario, the largest privately owned news daily in Ciudad Juarez, was shot dead outside his home yesterday. He was 40 years old.
Local police have suggested his murder was the obvious work of drug cartels, many of which operate with apparent impunity near the US-Mexico border. The various cartels are responsible for killing over 1300 people this year alone in the state of Chihuahua.
Mr. Rodriguez had covered the crime beat for the past 14 years. He was leaving his home in the morning when an unidentified gunman ambushed and shot him dead at point blank range. The gunman escaped into a waiting car and was driven away by at least one accomplice. A reporter working for a rival paper noted that Mr. Rodriguez had written a story on the killing of two local police officers just the day before his murder.
November 14, 2008 Japanese journo and Pakistani assistant attacked
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan A Japanese journalist that police have identified as Mr. Motoki Yotsukura was shot and wounded here today. Both he and his local assistant were wounded in an attack near Peshawar.
Mr. Yotsukura works for Asahi Shimbun, a Tokyo-based newspaper. It was unclear how serious the injuries were to his Pakistani assistant but Mr. Yotsukura is thought to have been shot in the leg and is in stable condition.
According to local police, there have been three attacks in as many days involving foreigners in the country. Gunmen had apparently targeted Mr. Yotsukura's hired vehicle after being identified as containing at least one foreign national.
October 15, 2008 Mexican editor abducted and murdered
LÁZARO CÁRDENAS, Mexico The body of Michoacán-based newspaper editor Mr. Miguel Angel Villagómez Valle has been found in a garbage dump in an adjoining town. According to police, the journalist had been shot multiple times.
Mr. Villagómez, editor and publisher of the daily regional tabloid newspaper Noticias de Michoacán, was kidnapped on the night of October 9th after leaving his office in the port town of Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, a central state in Mexico. Police found his body the next day about 30 miles (50 km) in Lázaro Cárdenas, state of Guerrero.
According to colleagues, Mr. Villagómez had received threatening phone calls from members of a drug cartel about a month before his murder and had told his family to be especially cautious. Noticias de Michoacán often reports on organized crime, government corruption and drug trafficking and the murder is widely seen as yet another effort to silence the press and media in Mexico.
September 8, 2008 Ransom demands made for three journalists
MOGADISHU, Somalia A ransom of $2.5 million USD has been received for three kidnapped journalists, abducted while en route to a local refugee camp near here two weeks ago.
A demand for the release of Canadian, Ms. Amanda Lindhout, aged 27, Australian, Mr. Nigel Brennan, aged 35, and Somali reporter/photographer, Mr. Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, has been received. The three are said to be held in a residence some distance north of Mogadishu.
The fact that a monetary ransom has been demanded as opposed to a political one seems to give more hope to the eventual safe release of the three. Politically motivated kidnappings are often more difficult to resolve as they frequently involve the release of prisoners held by third parties or other ultimatums difficult to satisfy.
September 1, 2008 - Pulitzer Prize winner Edwin Guthman dies
LOS ANGELES, CA, USA Mr. Edwin O. Guthman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who served as press secretary to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and had the dubious honor of later appearing on President Richard Nixon’s infamous “enemies list” has died of Amyloidosis, a blood disease. He was 89.
Mr. Guthman won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1950 coverage of the US government’s Un-American Activities Committee for The Seattle Times. His reporting is widely credited for clearing a University of Washington professor of the accusation that the academic was a Communist sympathizer.
Mr. Guthman also served as national editor for the Los Angeles Times from 1965 to 1977 and as editorial page editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer for over a decade. In recent years, he worked as a journalism professor and senior lecturer at the University of Southern California from 1987 until his retirement last year.
August 23, 2008 Three journalists kidnapped in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia Three journalists, a Canadian, an Australian and a Somali, have been kidnapped while traveling on the road between Afgoye and the capital, Mogadishu. It is understood the three were planning to visit refugee camps at Afgoye.
The Canadian is an experienced freelance television and print reporter from the town Sylvan Lake, Alberta, a small resort community between Calgary and Edmonton. Despite her small town roots, she had previously reported from Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of Africa.
The Australian, who reportedly hails from Queensland, had been in the area for less than a week but was trekking with the more seasoned Canadian journo. The two were traveling with local Somali reporter/photographer, who was also serving as the pair's local-language translator. Two locals, thought to be drivers/fixers were also taken at the same time. No ransom demands have been made but kidnapping-for-money is common in this part of Africa.
August 19, 2008 Former BBC sports presenter dies
CARDIFF, Wales, UK Mr. Bob Humphrys, a veteran BBC Wales sports correspondent, has died two months after announcing he had cancer. He was 56.
Mr. Humphrys had presented the Wales Today’s sports show for 20 years before taking retirement earlier this year. Media runs in the Humphrys family. His brother, Mr. John Humphrys, is a presenter at the UK’s Radio 4's Today.
BBC Wales Head of News and Current Affairs, Mark O'Callaghan, said that everybody at BBC Wales will be shocked and upset to hear of Mr. Humphrys' untimely death.
July 27, 2008 Scottish broadcasting veteran Bob Crampsey dies
GLASGOW, Scotland, UK Writer and broadcaster Mr. Bob Crampsey has died following a long illness. He was 78.
Besides contributing to sports programs on BBC Scotland, Scottish Television and Radio Clyde, Mr. Crampsey was a keen musician, historian and linguist. He wrote books on diverse subjects including Glasgow's 1938 Empire Exhibition, football (soccer) manager Jock Stein, and tea merchant Sir Thomas Lipton. But media was not his first career. Before joining the BBC, Mr. Crampsey was the rector of St. Ambrose High School in Coatbridge, a small town just outside of Glasgow.
Mr. Crampsey joined the BBC as a commentator for Radio Scotland Sportsound team in 1987. He worked at the network until he retired seven years ago. Friends and work colleagues always appreciated Mr. Crampsey’s near encyclopedic knowledge concerning all things sports related. Before the age of computer databases assisting modern-day sportscasters, Mr. Crampsey could often recall long-past football (soccer) matches including team players, goals scored, assists given, game referees, and even the official attendance numbers of almost any match.
July 27, 2008 Egyptian film director Youssef Chahine dies
CAIRO, Egypt Mr. Youssef Chahine, an Egyptian film director who made his first film in 1950, has died in Cairo at the age of 82. In recent months, he had been in poor health and four weeks ago suffered a massive brain hemorrhage.
One of the Arab world’s most admired and controversial filmmakers, Mr. Chahine used celluloid to challenge the authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism he saw around him. Mr. Chahine’s film career was also admired in France, where he showed numerous works at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Chahine received the Festival’s Lifetime Achievement award in 1997.
His career somehow survived the nationalization of Egypt’s film industry as well as his production of “The Sparrow”, a film critical of the country’s leadership during the Six Day War in 1967. Many of his films centered around his home town of Alexandria. Towards the end of his career, the themes of censorship and American interference in Middle East policies became increasingly evident themes in his movies. The Emigrant, a film he produced in 1994, was banned in Egypt because its plot was based on the biblical story of Joseph. Most interpretations of Islam hold that any depiction of prophets is blasphemous.
July 24, 2008 Journalist found in contempt at UN war crimes tribunal
THE HAGUE, Netherlands The United Nations tribunal set up to try those responsible for atrocities committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s has convicted a Kosovo journalist of contempt of court.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”) found that Mr. Baton Haxhiu wrote and caused to be published details about a protected witness who testified at the trial of Kosovo’s former prime minister. Mr. Haxhiu was also fined €7,000 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for revealing the identity of the witness, as well as his supposed whereabouts, in an article he wrote and published in Kosovo.
The UN Trial Chamber’s judges were satisfied that Mr. Haxhiu who had initially pled not guilty to the charge during an earlier court date revealed this information knowing that he would be in violation of a court order.
July 21, 2008 Appeals court squashes FCC indecency fine
PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA A federal appeals court today threw out a $550,000 (USD) fine against CBS Corp. for its controversial 2004 Super Bowl half-time show. The show, which is usually tame to the point of tediousness, featured a steamy duet between Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. At the end of the song, and just before a fade to black, a breast-baring “wardrobe malfunction” occurred.
The FCC reportedly imposed the fine after receiving a number of complaints from viewers who, at the end of a five-minute musical number, saw a blurred, four-second image of one of Janet Jackson's bare breasts. Timberlake had just sung the line, “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” as he ripped off Jackson's bustier. Although both singers maintained that Jackson's wardrobe had “malfunctioned”, the FCC quickly imposed the largest fine in its history to punish the network for indecency.
A three-judge panel in Philadelphia ruled that the US Federal Communications Commission had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing the fine for the fleeting image of nudity.
June 13, 2008 NBC's Tim Russert dies of heart attack
WASHINGTON, DC, USA Mr. Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press" and the network’s Washington bureau chief collapsed and died at work today. The veteran journalist and commentator suffered an apparent heart attack. He was 58.
Mr. Russert was most recognized for his work on NBC’s Sunday news and politics show, which he had hosted since December 1991. His political, business and sports guests were treated to a fast-fire rate of questioning, a style that often infuriated them.
Besides writing two best-selling books, "Big Russ and Me," in 2004, and "Wisdom of our Fathers," in 2006, Mr. Russert was also a senior vice president at NBC.
March 21, 2008 Hugo Claus ends his life by euthanasia
ANTWERP, Belgium Mr. Hugo Claus, a prolific writer, poet and artist, has died at age 78. According to his wife, Mr. Claus had suffered from an increasing level of Dementia, possibly due to Alzheimer's disease, and had ended his own life by euthanasia.
Mr. Claus was born in Bruges in 1929 and was, according to many accounts, a rebellious pupil at the boarding schools to which his parents sent him. He published his first literary work when he was only 18. Simply titled, Short Series, it was a collection of poems. Plays such as “Friday” and “Sugar” followed shortly thereafter. Some of Claus’ most popular other works include: “The Sign of the Hamster”, “The Duck Hunt” and “Verhalen”.
Mr. Claus scheduled his death at Antwerp’s Middelheim Hospital to coincide with festivities that marked the 25th anniversary of his book, “The Sorrow of Belgium”. The semi-autobiographical work about social injustice was among his 200 works.
March 19, 2008 Photographer Jones Griffiths dies at 72
LONDON, UK Mr. Philip Jones Griffiths, a photographer who gained fame from his journalist activities in Vietnam and served five years as president of the Magnum Photos, died today of an unspecified form of cancer. He was 72 years old.
Mr. Jones Griffiths was born in Rhuddlan, Denbighshire, Wales and studied pharmacy at Liverpool University. His career took a detour, however, when he began working at the Guardian newspaper as a part-time photographer. In 1961, he began work as a full-time freelancer for The Observer, now part of the Guardian. Less than a year later, he went to Algeria to shoot the civil war and its continuing aftermath. He ended up in Asia and joined Magnum as an associate member in 1966. He stayed in South-East Asia, documenting the effects of the Vietnam War on its peoples and that of its neighbors, for five years.
In 1973, he covered the Yom Kippur War in Israel, but returned to South-East Asia quickly afterwards, primarily spending time in Cambodia. In 1980, Mr. Jones Griffiths moved to New York to become Magnum's president, a post he held for five years.
March 18, 2008 Visionary writer Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a science fiction writer who co-wrote "2001: A Space Odyssey" as well as more than 100 books on space and science, died yesterday at home after suffering from breathing problems. He was 90 years old.
Along with famed film director, Mr. Stanley Kubrick, Sir Arthur gained public fame by co-writing "2001: A Space Odyssey." But the native Englishman who emigrated to Sri Lanka was also credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, almost two decades before they became a reality. To honor this groundbreaking work, the geosynchronous orbits that keep modern-day communications satellites safely circling the Earth, are now called Clarke Orbits. The author also joined American broadcaster Mr. Walter Cronkite as scientific commentator during the US Apollo launches of the late 1960s.
Some of Sir Clarke’s best-known works include "Childhood's End," published in 1953; "The City and The Stars," published in 1956; "The Nine Billion Names of God," published in 1967; "Rendezvous with Rama," published in 1973; "Imperial Earth," published in 1975; and "The Songs of Distant Earth," 1986. The author stayed active well into later life. He published his bestselling "3001: The Final Odyssey" when he was 79.
February 13, 2008 Murdered journalist’s body found in street
BAGHDAD, Iraq The body of a young Iraqi journalist, kidnapped two days ago after he reportedly left the office to buy some stationery supplies, was found on a Baghdad street. According to local police, he had been shot multiple times.
Mr. Hisham Michwit Hamdan, aged 27, had not been seen by colleagues after leaving the offices of the Young Journalists League two days previous. The organization identifies itself as an independent media watchdog in the country but Mr. Hamdan had not reported receiving any specific threats.
Iraq continues to be the most dangerous country in the world for journalists and hundreds have died since the American-led war began in 2003.
February 12, 2008 CBS journalists missing in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq Two journalists, a British man and his Iraqi interpreter, working for the US network CBS have been kidnapped from their hotel in Basra. Local police and witnesses said they were seized from Sultan Palace Hotel by at least eight gunmen.
CBS News released a statement saying the two were missing and that efforts were under way to find them. Britain’s Foreign Commonwealth Office (“FCO”) issued a statement that it was looking into the matter urgently.
A hotel worker was quoted as saying the gunmen had arrived at the hotel earlier in the day and inquired about who was staying there. The group then returned a few hours later with the four-wheel drive vehicle that was used in the kidnapping and getaway.
January 19, 2008 Canadian reporter and media personality dies
WINNIPEG, MN, Canada Mr. Don Wittman, a Canadian sports reporter and TV commentator, died today after a long bout with cancer. He was 71.
Mr. Wittman’s career in broadcasting began on radio in 1955 when he was just 18 years old. He joined the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”) less than six years later and remained at the public broadcaster throughout his career. For many Canadians, Mr. Wittman became inseparable from the sports he covered with football, curling and especially, track and field, becoming particularly identified with him.
During the 1972 Munich Olympics, which Mr. Wittman was attending as a sports commentator for the Canadian broadcaster, he and producer, Mr. Bob Moir sneaked into the Athlete’s Village and reported live during the Israeli hostage crisis for TV audiences back in Canada.
January 14, 2008 Norwegian journalist killed
KABUL, Afghanistan A Norwegian reporter and veteran war correspondent, Mr. Carsten Thomassen, has been killed in a bomb attack, along with at least five others. Mr. Thomassen was 38.
Mr. Thomassen was covering the visit of Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre and was waiting to meet Mr. Støre in the lobby of the popular five-star Serena Hotel. Mr. Thomassen was wounded in the arm, leg and stomach by the bomb blast and received first aid from other nearby reporters. He died a few hours later in a nearby field hospital.
Confusion followed the attack although it was obviously the result of a suicide bomber detonating his explosive vest. Three other attackers involved including at least one who was wearing an Afghani police uniform had reportedly escaped capture. According to local officials, the explosion was so massive, it actually shook the large hotel and plaster was stripped off the walls and ceilings in rooms near to the attacked lobby. Mr. Thomassen’s newspaper, Dagbladet, has set up a memorial Web site for the murdered reporter. You can reach it here.
End of the 2008 News page.