In poignant ceremony, fallen journalists honored at Washington’s Newseum

The Journalists Memorial, located inside the N...

The Journalists Memorial, located inside the Newseum, an interactive museum of news and journalism in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 WASHINGTON, May 14:  The names of 70 international journalists including seven Pakistanis who paid the ultimate price covering the news in 2011 were added to the Newseum‘s Journalists Memorial in a poignant ceremony here Monday .

Another two  journalists who died in previous years in the line of duty and were brought to the Newseum’s attention in 2011 were also recognized.

Their names have been added to a separate panel in the memorial, and their stories are included in the interactive kiosks in the Journalists Memorial Gallery.

Seven Pakistani journalists killed last year included  Nasrullah Khan Afridi, Wali Khan Babar, Shafiullah Khan, Asfandyar Abid Naveed, Faisal Qureshi, Javed Naseer Rind, and Syed Saleem Shahzad.

With these new names, there are now 2,156 journalists honored on the memorial, dating from 1837.

The annual ceremony was attended by family, friends and colleagues of the fallen journalists.

Chris Wells, former senior vice president of Freedom Forum, a U.S.-based free press advocacy group, presided over the ceremony  According to Wells, the diverse group of journalists had been “brought together in a fellowship [that] none of them would have chosen:”

”They spoke different languages; they worked in different spheres of news gathering,” she said. “Some of them were known to millions on the nightly news; some of them worked in anonymity. Some of them knew of impending danger, but many of them were surprised.

”The common thread that united them all was their commitment to journalism and the fact that they left us all too soon.”

In his remarks, James C. Duff, chief executive officer of the Newseum, called the Journalists Memorial “one of the most powerful and important galleries in the Newseum.”

“This dedication renews the Newseum’s commitment to remember these brave journalists for generations to come,” he said.

Alejandro Junco, president and chief executive officer of Grupo Reforma, the largest print media company in Latin America, was the keynote speaker. In a speech titled “Burning the Fog,” Junco talked about journalists who aren’t afraid to publicly expose wrongdoing, despite the personal dangers.

“For 40 years, I have worked alongside journalists working to burn away the fog of anonymity,” Junco said, “working to help eliminate those bad influences on people’s lives — the bad incentives, the bad systems, the bad practices.”

Junco also reminded guests of the constant dangers journalists face each day.

“This year is less than five months old and already, across the world, 18 journalists have been killed; 179 have been imprisoned,” he said.

Among the honored were several journalists who died while covering the unrest that spread throughout the Arab world last year. They include photojournalists Tim Hetherington, Chris Hondros and Anton Hammerl.

After the ceremony, guests gathered at the Journalists Memorial, where several personal items belonging to Hetherington and Hondros were presented to the Newseum for future display in the Time Warner World News Gallery. The loaned items include the combat helmet Hetherington wore in Afghanistan and two press passes belonging to Hondros during his work in Libya.

In 2011, Iraq and Pakistan were the deadliest countries for journalists. Seven journalist deaths occurred in each country. Libya and Chile were the second deadliest countries with five deaths in each. In Chile, a single plane crash killed five journalists. Mexico and Somalia had four deaths in each.

Source: MGCT,  Newseum, Radio Free Europe 


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