A man killed five workers at the Annapolis Capital Gazette newspaper office in Maryland, USA on 28 June. The IFJ joins its US affiliates in denouncing this attack on press freedom and the continuous targeting of journalists working for local media.
On 28 June, at around 2.40 pm, a man armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades stormed into the Capital Gazette’s offices in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland state, and killed five workers and injured two.
According to crime reporter Phil Davis the gunman “shot through the glass door to the office” before opening fire on employees.
Journalists Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara and Wendi Winters as well as sales assistant Rebecca Smith died in the attack.
The killer, identified as Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was taken in to custody. He has had a long history of disputes with the Capital Gazette over a defamation case over which he had filed a claim in 2012. The lawsuit was later dismissed with prejudice by a judge.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Once again, journalism and the press have been attacked in this senseless shooting. Beyond the debate over firearms in the United States, attacking a newsroom is a serious violation of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. This odious act also reminds us that journalists are not safe anywhere, whether in a country at war, in a conflict zone or in a democracy. Every week since 1st January 2018, two journalists or media workers have been murdered worldwide, according to the IFJ's latest count and the large majority of them are local journalists working for local media. The ones one least reports on, unfortunately. »
IFJ affiliate SAG-AFTRA expressed its sadness over the news of the shooting: “Our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. As a union that counts journalists among its members, we stand with our colleagues at the Capital Gazette. We remain concerned that journalists are increasingly operating under the threat of violence and intimidation, and SAG-AFTRA will continue to work with employers to ensure safe workplaces across the country.”
Journalists at the Capital say they will publish a paper on Friday.