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Posts Tagged ‘Jon Williams’

American Journalist Steven Sotloff Reportedly Beheaded by ISIS

Steven SotloffTwo weeks after James Foley was beheaded by ISIS, American journalist Steven Sotloff has reportedly been executed by the same group.

In a new video posted online today, Sotloff, in the same orange Foley wore, addressed the camera: “I’m sure you know exactly who I am by now and why I am appearing,” he said before being beheaded.

ABC News cut into broadcast coverage with George Stephanopoulos anchoring and Brian Ross reporting. Ross reported the executioner said, “Obama, I’m back” while Sotloff asked the president why he was paying the price for American “interference in Iraq.” NBC News cut in at 1:48pmET with Brian Williams anchoring and Andrea Mitchell reporting. CBS News didn’t provide special coverage.

Wolf Blitzer first reported the news on CNN at 1:24pmET, going to foreign correspondent Karl Penhaul while showing stills of Sotloff next to a man who seems to be the same British ISIS member who executed Foley. “Obama back off and just leave us alone,” Penhaul reports the executioner said in the video. ABC News’ Foreign Editor Jon Williams tweets the executioner threatened British citizen David Haines‘ life at the end of the video. MSNBC’s Krystal Ball, filling in for Ronan Farrow, reported the news at 1:28pmET; Fox News’ Jon Scott reported at 1:33pmET. None of the networks aired the video.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest sent his condolences to the Sotloff family during an afternoon briefing while also stipulating the U.S. government has not yet verified the video’s authenticity. Last week, Sotloff’s mother, Shirley, sent a video message to ISIS pleading for her son’s life. Foley was a freelance journalist for TIME magazine and Foreign Policy.

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International Group of News Organizations Calls For Release of Al Jazeera Journalists

peter gresteAn international group of high-profile news executives — including NBC News president Deborah Turness, ABC News managing editor of international news Jon Williams and BBC director of news James Harding — have penned an open letter calling for the release of Peter Greste and other Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt.

The group, which also includes BBC deputy director of news Fran Unsworth, ITN chief executive John Hardie, Reuters global editor John Pullman and Sky head of news John Ryley, writes “the Egyptian authorities are profoundly mistaken in their actions”:

Whatever the local conditions, a fundamental principle of any country should be freedom of speech – the existence of critical voices that can test the mettle of a system. As history shows, that’s vital. So we think Egypt’s move is deeply damaging to the future of impartial journalism in the country and that its actions are unjust, and unacceptable.

A hard-working, honourable journalist, with a track record of achievement, has been put in jail, awaiting trial, for honestly practising his trade. So we would like to add our voices to those that have called for his release, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Peter Greste and his colleagues should be set free so that they can continue with the kind of impartial, balanced reporting he has so eloquently defended from his prison cell.

ABC News Reopens Beirut Bureau

With all eyes on Syria, ABC News has announced plans to reopen a bureau in Beirut, Lebanon. The network’s first bureau there was opened in 1968 by Peter Jennings and closed in the 1990s.

“Beirut was a city Peter Jennings made his own. So it’s fitting – and timely – that ABC News is returning to a place that is one of the best listening posts in the Middle East,” managing editor of international news Jon Williams said in a statement.

ABC News correspondent Alexander Marquardt will be based in the Beirut bureau. In his first assignment since taking on the role of chief foreign correspondent, Terry Moran will report from Beirut on the escalating conflict in Syria for all ABC News platforms beginning today.

New Managing Editor at ABC News

Jon Williams is leaving the BBC where he was World Editor to join ABC News as the Managing Editor for International News. Williams will begin in March and will be based in New York.

Marcus Wilford, who has overseen the international desk for the last several months, will return to London and work for ABC News as a consultant.

Williams has been BBC News’ World Editor for the last 7 years, overseeing operations in 30 bureaus around the world. Williams led a digital-first strategy at the BBC, adding online coverage and eyewitness reporting from around the world.