Meet 5 of the 39 Brave Journalists Missing Worldwide

by
Sameera Ehteram
The loss of photojournalist James Foley’s life reminds us of all journalists and reporters missing in the line of duty.

Brave Journalists

In a propaganda video, militants from the Islamic State (ISIS) claim to have killed an American photo journalist James Foley. 

Foley had long been held captive in Syria.

Hundreds of journalists put their lives on the line almost every day. Many of them go missing and are killed.

The deaths of Yves Debay, Mika Yamamoto, Mohamed Ibrahim Rageh, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, Mohammed al-Horani and Saleem Shahzad are all too frequent and a stark reminder of how dangerous this profession is. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 1,070 reporters and media workers have died since 1992 while on duty.

There are also scores of journalists who are missing, either kidnapped or lost.

CPJ reports at least 39 journalists missing worldwide.

Here are stories of five of those missing journalists.

Sergio Landa Rosado, Veracruz

Brave Journalists

Sergio Landa Rosado, working for the Veracruz’ local daily Diario Cardel, disappeared while reporting in the city of Cardel on Jan. 23, 2013.

That was not the first time he had been kidnapped though; in December 2012, one day after reporting on the murder of a taxi driver, two SUVs and a car with men carrying assault rifles came to the newspaper office and took Landa away. The reporter luckily escaped. He was not so lucky a month later.

María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, Mexico

Brave Journalists

María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe worked for two Michoacán newspapers, El Diario de Zamora and El Cambio de Michoacán in Michoacán, Mexico. Her disappearance, which occurred on Nov. 11, 2009, is generally attributed to her coverage of the Mexican drug war.

Osama al-Habaly, Syria

Brave Journalists

Osama al-Habaly disappeared in 2012 as he crossed from Lebanon back to his home country, Syria. He was among the reporters who covered the violent Syrian revolution in Homs.

On April 4, 2012, al-Habaly was hit by a mortar shell while covering shelling in Homs. Shrapnel lodged in his head, neck, legs and hands, and al-Habaly had to go to Beirut, Lebanon, to receive medical care. It was on his way back that he was taken in to custody at the border and hasn’t been heard from since.

Prageeth Eknelygoda, Sri Lanka

Brave Journalists

Eknelygoda, a cartoonist and columnist for the online news outlet Lanka eNews, went missing on Jan. 24, 2010, two days before the Sri Lankan presidential elections.

Despite reaching as far as the United Nations, Eknelygoda’s case has seen no progress.

Oralgaisha Omarshanova, Kazakhstan

Brave Journalists

Omarshanova worked for the paper Zakon i Pravosudiye ("Law And Justice"). She disappeared while covering the clashes between Kazakhs and ethnic Chechens. She was last seen getting into a Jeep in the Almaty Province in March 2007.

She has been known to have told a colleague of threats she had received.

Who knows how many of the 39 missing journalists are alive? They may or may not be dead by now, but there is no way of confirming their whereabouts. Officially they remain “missing.”

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