IFJ and Japanese media condemn brutal slaying of Kenji Goto

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Union, Shimbunroren, in condemning the brutal murder of journalist Kenji Goto in Syria on Sunday, February 1. The IFJ says the brutal killing of the Japanese freelancer by IS militants in Syria highlighted the spreading blight of the targeting of media workers that had taken terrorism to another front.

Kenji Goto, 47, was a freelance Japanese journalist who had covered conflicts across the globe including Syria, Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He started his own media company, Independent Press, an online news portal reporting on conflict, refugee populations and poverty. Goto began reporting on Syria four years ago when conflict broke out.

Goto, and Japanese national, Haruna Yukawa were shown in a video released by the Islamic State (IS) on January 20 in Syria, demanding a $US200 million ransom within 72 hours. When the deadline passed, Yukawa was killed by IS, which then then demanded went on to demand the release on an Iraqi jihadist in jail in Jordan in exchange for the release of Goto and a Jordanian military pilot. Goto was killed on February 1.

President  of the Federation of Newspaper Workers’ Unions (Shinbunroren) Seigo Arasaki said:  "We express strong indignation against the video footage of the murder of freelance journalist Kenji Goto and strongly denounce the contempt of human life by the so-called Islamic State. We feel strong indignation against the criminal group, which repeatedly makes irrational demands, and its cowardly practice of taking journalists and civilians hostage and brutally killing them."

"Mr. Goto had reported on women and children in the battlefield and conveyed hopes of peace through books and videos."<font face="arial, sans-serif" color="#222222" size="2"> </font>said Arasaki.

The IFJ Asia Pacific acting director Jane Worthington said: “We deplore the killing of Kenji Goto and outright condemn the use of journalists and other civilians as hostages and bargaining tools.”

“The IFJ offer their deepest colleagues to Kenji’s family and colleagues across Japan and the region who are mourning the senseless killing of a journalist who went to Syria to do a job – to inform and shine light on a devastating conflict and its ghastly human toll.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific