Journalist Steven Sotloff reportedly executed by ISIS

ABC News | The New York Times | The Washington Post | SITE
Freelance journalist Steven Sotloff has reportedly been executed by ISIS, Lee Ferran reported Tuesday for ABC News.

The Washington Post’s Greg Miller also reported that a video appears to show Sotloff’s execution. SITE, a terrorist monitoring site, also reported the news.

From ABC’s report:

In the video, which appeared online today, Sotloff addresses the camera, saying, “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing.”

“Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life?” Sotloff says calmly as the black clad militant holds a knife casually at his side.

In this handout image made available by the photographer, American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line, 25 km west of Misrata on June 02, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria, and was recently shown on a jihadist video in which fellow US journalist James Foley was executed. In the video the militant from the Islamic State (IS) threatens to kill Sotloff next if the U.S. continues its aerial campaign against the insurgency. (Photo by Etienne de Malglaive via Getty Images)

In this handout image made available by the photographer, American journalist Steven Sotloff (center with black helmet) talks to Libyan rebels on the Al Dafniya front line, 25 km west of Misrata on June 02, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Sotloff was kidnapped in August 2013 near Aleppo, Syria, and was recently shown on a jihadist video in which fellow US journalist James Foley was executed. In the video the militant from the Islamic State (IS) threatens to kill Sotloff next if the U.S. continues its aerial campaign against the insurgency. (Photo by Etienne de Malglaive via Getty Images)

On August 27, Sotloff’s mother, Shirley Sotloff, released a video pleading for her son’s release, Zeke Miller reported for Time. On August 22, Rick Gladstone and Shreeya Sinha wrote about Sotloff for The New York Times.

Described by friends as selfless, Mr. Sotloff spent most of his life in Florida except when he attended a boarding high school, Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H., where he apparently developed a penchant for reporting and writing. He coedited the student newspaper, The Kimball Union, graduated in 2002 and attended the University of Central Florida, where he played rugby, worked for the independent student newspaper, Central Florida Future, and expressed deep interest in travel to the Middle East.

He left after three years and, soon after, began to pursue journalism full-time.

Last month, freelance journalist James Foley was executed by ISIS, which operates in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Reporters Without Borders reports that Syria is the most dangerous country for journalists.

Nearly 130 news and information providers have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011. They are under attack from both sides: on the one hand by Bashar Al-Assad’s regular army, which continues to arrest and kill those who document the conflict; and on the other by armed Islamist groups in the so-called “liberated” areas in the north, above all by Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). Since the spring of 2013, these Jihadi groups have been abducting journalists and installing legal committees (hay’at shar’iya) that dispense arbitrary justice. The security forces operated by the Democratic and Union Party (PYD), the dominant political group in the Kurdish regions, pose an additional obstacle to freedom of information. Under threat from all sides, Syrian news providers are fleeing the country in large numbers.

SITE reported that the video also threatens “a Briton, David Cawthorne Haines.”

On Tuesday, the Associated Press’ Josh Lederman tweeted that the video of Sotloff hasn’t been authenticated by the U.S. yet.

Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement on Tuesday about Sotloff’s death.

“Journalists know that covering war is inherently dangerous and that they could get killed in crossfire. But being butchered in front of camera simply for being a reporter is pure barbarism. We condemn in the strongest terms possible the murder of journalist Steven Sotloff. He, like James Foley, went to Syria to tell a story. They were civilians, not representatives of any government. Their murders are war crimes and those who committed them must be brought to justice swiftly,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

The Newspaper Guild also released a statement from Bernie Lunzer, international president.

“It appears that barbaric and radical extremists have again murdered a journalist as an act of revenge against the United States. Like James Foley two weeks ago, Steven Sotloff was murdered by horrific means shown in a video meant to terrorize and disgust the world. Because they are willing to risk their lives to tell stories from the darkest corners of the world, journalists have always been especially vulnerable targets for kidnappers. Now they are being preyed on by the most vile and vicious terrorists the modern world has ever seen. As we send our profound sympathy to the Sotloff family, we urge the entire world to continue to condemn these atrocities and to work together to stop an enemy to all humanity. Murdering storytellers who are courageously trying to understand and explain conflicts is an attack on civilization itself.”

Sotloff freelanced for news outlets including Time. On Tuesday, Time’s Zeke Miller wrote about the video and included a statement from Time’s editor.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by reports of Steven Sotloff’s death,” TIME editor Nancy Gibbs said in a statement. “Steven was a valued contributor to TIME and other news organizations, and he gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”

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