Mother of slain NH journalist: Important for press to continue to seek truth worldwide
By KIMBERLEY HAAS Union Leader Correspondent
The fourth anniversary of journalist James Foley's death is Sunday and signs are popping up in the Rochester area promoting a run and walk that benefit a foundation in his name. This sign was seen Wednesday in Barrington. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)
ROCHESTER — The fourth anniversary of freelance war correspondent James Foley’s death is Sunday, and his mother says it is more important than ever for journalists working domestically and abroad to continue to seek for the truth.
“The best in journalism are the ones seeking the truth not only in other countries but our own,” Diane Foley said Wednesday morning. “It’s something we have to continue to fight for because I feel our press freedom is a bastion of our democracy in many ways.”
Diane Foley acknowledged that journalists all over the globe work hard and said her son would not like the current political notion that American reporters are somehow enemies of the people.
“Jim would be appalled about that, but that’s also why he was working where he was working because he realized the people of Syria had no voice,” Diane Foley said.
James Foley was covering the Syrian Civil War when he was abducted on Nov. 22, 2012. He was publicly beheaded by the Islamic State on Aug. 19, 2014, at just 40-years-old.
Diane Foley said celebrating and protecting press freedoms is what the annual James W. Foley Freedom Run and Walk is all about. This year, the event will begin and end at Rochester Community Center next to Spaulding High School on Oct. 20.
“It’s a time to remember the many who have given their lives so we can stay free,” Diane Foley said.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York City, so far in 2018 at least 35 media members have been killed in the line of duty worldwide. That includes 10 in Afghanistan, six in Syria and four in the United States.
The committee’s data shows 262 journalists were imprisoned in 2017 and 60 are missing globally.
The annual run and walk held in James Foley’s name raises money for a foundation which advocates for the safe return of all American hostages kidnapped abroad, improved safety and treatment of independent freelance conflict journalists and provides educational materials for university students planning a career in reporting the news abroad.
Diane Foley said she thinks the runners who participate in person will enjoy a new course. The run used to start and finish at the Rochester Fairgrounds.
“We think it will be better than ever,” Diane Foley said.
For more information and to sign up for the in-person or virtual run, visit www.jamesfoleyfoundation.org/events.