Using social media, family of slain journalist asks public not to watch beheading video


His family has taken to social media, using Facebook and Twitter to express their sorrow, accept his death, ask for privacy and ask others to refrain from sharing or watching the graphic images of their loved one’s beheading.

“We have never been prouder of our son Jim. He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people,” said Diane Foley, mother of U.S. freelance journalist James Foley, believed to have been beheaded by captors from the group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL).

The group released this week a video purportedly of a militant decapitating James Foley. The New York Times reported today that American intelligence agencies verified its authenticity. In a statement, Diane Foley said her son, a Marquette University 1996 graduate, who had been captured in late 2012, was “an extraordinary son, brother, journalist and person. Please respect our privacy in the days ahead as we mourn and cherish Jim.”

His sister, Kelly Foley, took to Twitter asking others not to watch the video or share it in any form.

“Please honor James Foley and respect my family’s privacy. Don’t watch the video. Don’t share it. That’s not how life should be.”

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said on Twitter that anyone sharing the images of the event would have their accounts suspended.

“We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you.”

The journalist’s account, of a prior detention in Libya appeared in Marquette magazine, and has been making the rounds today in Catholic blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter, with excerpts from it in the CNS story today on Foley’s killing. In the piece titled “Phone call home,” he wrote that praying the rosary and the prayers of others helped him survive the ordeal.

In April 2013, the Marquette University community held a prayer vigil for Foley — he has disappeared in Syria before Thanksgiving 2012. His parents traveled to Milwaukee from their home in New Hampshire to be part of the event. At the time, the Foleys in an interview talked at length about their strong Catholic faith and their reliance on prayer to see them through missing their much-loved son.

About Rhina Guidos

Associate Editor at Catholic News Service in Washington. You can find me on Twitter @CNS_Rhina
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