Even before journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff were killed in 2014 by Da’esh, also known as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), the terrorist group had already discouraged global media outlets from sending correspondents to Syria through violence against journalists.

Agence France Presse, for one example, acknowledged in September 2014 that journalists were no longer welcome in Syria as “independent witnesses to the suffering of local populations.” Instead, “they have become targets, or commodities to be traded for ransom,” the news agency said in a blog post. Today, there is little objective information flowing out about Syria’s conflict or those most affected by it.

Pakistanis protest violence against journalists with a photo of German photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014. (© AP Images)

The Committee to Protect Journalists says that at least 60 journalists around the world were killed in 2014 while on the job or because of their work, and three-fourths of them were deliberately targeted for murder. More than 1,000 journalists have been killed since the organization started keeping records in 1992, and the committee says the past three years have been the deadliest.

In a separate report, the committee says 220 members of the press are imprisoned around the world — the second-highest figure it has recorded. “We may live in the information age, but those who bring us the news are being jailed in record numbers,” Executive Director Joel Simon said.

Terrorists, repressive governments, organized crime and others are actively trying to prevent journalists from covering underreported problems and exposing the truth. You can help defend your right to independent information on conflicts, corruption, human rights and other topics by joining the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Speak Justice campaign.