Fifty-three new names of journalists were unveiled on Thursday, October 7, on the 2021 stele of the Bayeux Reporters Memorial. “The most unbearable is that all were killed in the exercise of their function, RSF president Pierre Haski recalled during the unveiling ceremony. Most have been deliberately targeted and cowardly murdered by bullets or in targeted attacks, hence the urgent need to make the fight against impunity a priority. ”
In his speech, Pierre Haski paid tribute to the six journalists killed in Afghanistan, “Martyred country of our profession”. Among them, the Indian photographer Danish Siddiqui, 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner, killed while covering an Afghan National Army assault on the Taliban on July 17, at the age of 38. “His work was filled with humanity and courage”, recalled the international director of the agency’s Audiovisual division Reuters, John D. Pullman, who discussed the photographer’s latest reports in India and his images of funeral pyres during the Covid-19 pandemic, which have toured the world.
A moving tribute to field journalism was also paid by the wife of the Spanish journalist David Beirain, killed with his colleague Roberto Fraile while they were on report with an anti-poaching patrol in Burkina Faso, last April. Rosaura Beirain painted the portrait of “Two souls in love with journalism, of an inseparable duo, who have made half a hundred documentaries” and surveys very noticed, and evoked the “Irreparable loss” that their death represented “For the most active and honest journalism, the one that goes out into the field, gets dirty with mud on their shoes and tries to understand the complexity of reality up close”.
This year, no region of the world has been spared: the journalists whose names have been engraved on white marble are from the Middle East, Asia, South America and Africa as well as from Africa. Europe, yet considered the least dangerous region in the world for journalists. Two journalists specializing in criminal affairs were murdered in broad daylight: the Greek Giorgos Karaivaz and the Dutch, Peter R. de Vries. “Faithful to the adage ‘better to die standing than to live on your knees’, Peter R. de Vries was assassinated while returning to his car after his broadcast, in broad daylight, in the center of our capital”, recalled the President of the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) Renske Heddema, who underlined the importance of programs to protect journalists, including within the EU, where “Journalists are murdered in cold blood within a Union where the rule of law should reign”.
A special tribute was also paid by the president of the jury of the 2021 edition of the Bayeux-Calvados-Normandie prize, Manoocher Deghati, to the Iranian Rouhollah Zam, director of the Telegram channel Adamnews, who was coldly executed by the regime at the end of 2020. “Journalists face two dangers: war and dictatorial regimes that do not want the truth to be told”, said the Iranian photojournalist, who was forced to leave his home country in the early 1980s.
Inaugurated in 2006, the Bayeux Reporters Memorial was built in partnership with RSF and aims to honor the memory of journalists and reporters killed in conflicts or assassinated in the course of their work.
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On the 2021 stele of the Bayeux Reporters Memorial, 53 names of journalists killed | Reporters Without Borders