Reports: Freelance Journalist Steven Sotloff Apparently Murdered

According to various reports and online video purporting to show the act, ISIS has beheaded a second American journalist, freelancer Steven Sotloff. Sotloff was kidnapped in Syria in 2013.

"Journalists know that covering war is inherently dangerous and that they could get killed in crossfire. But being butchered in front of camera simply for being a reporter is pure barbarism," said Committee to Protect Journalists executive director Joel Simon. "We condemn in the strongest terms possible the murder of journalist Steven Sotloff. He, like James Foley, went to Syria to tell a story. They were civilians, not representatives of any government. Their murders are war crimes and those who committed them must be brought to justice swiftly."

Freelancer James Foley was murdered by the group two weeks ago in a similar fashion, with the message that the U.S. had to stop intervening militarily in Iraq. The U.S. continued its airstrikes in the region.

The video reportedly shows a third, as yet unidentified, hostage and a suggestion they could be next.

In the video of Foley's killing by the terrorist group, Sotloff had been shown with the threat that he could suffer the same fate.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by reports of Steven Sotloff’s death,” said TIME editor Nancy Gibbs in a statement. “Steven was a valued contributor to TIME and other news organizations, and he gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

“Steven Sotloff was a man of enormous courage and decency," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in response to the news. "Through his journalism, he demonstrated deep personal compassion toward the Middle East and its people. He hoped to shine a light on both the good and the bad of the region – to show the world the dramatic potential of its people as well as the stark forces of evil holding them back. As Steven was a native of Florida, my office has been in contact with his family throughout their ordeal, and today my heart goes out to all who loved him as they make the painful transition from fear to grief."

"The kidnapping and murders of Steven Sotloff and James Foley were barbaric and abhorrent acts of violence against innocent Americans who were reporting from Syria," said Jeff Shell, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees government supported independent media in the Middle East and elsewhere. "Killing journalists will not silence the truth about what is happening now at the hands of the Islamic State. Information warfare should not be fought with innocent lives."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.