There is a new feature in the main hallway at Voice of America headquarters in Washington: a memorial to 10 journalists who worked for VOA, RFE-RL, Alhurra and Radio Sawa who were killed in the line of duty. The memorial was unveiled this week by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the government agency that supervises U.S. international broadcasters, including VOA.
The memorial honors Leonid Karas, Abdulrachmann Fatalibey, Georgi Markov, Iskandar Khatloni, Abdul-Hussein Khazal, Ricardo de Mello, Ogulsapar Muradova, Khamail Muhsin Khalaf, Nazar Abdulwahid Al-Radhi, and Alisher Saipov. Short profiles of these international broadcasters and reporters can be viewed in the news section of the BBG website.
At the dedication ceremony, Board member Steven Simmons called the memorial “a sad reminder that journalists risk their lives to protect a most basic freedom: the freedom to receive information. Information that sometimes is a matter of life and death.”
Board member Joaquin Blaya noted: “While a journalist's toolbox consists of pens, papers and sometimes a laptop, camera and microphone, the arsenal of the opponents of freedom of the press too often includes fists, arrest warrants and - as we acknowledge so vividly today – murder.”
“The tragic events that we recognize in today's dedication attest not to the power of despots, but to the power of journalists - whose seemingly insignificant tools produce the words of truth that find their way into millions of households every day. Journalists, whose words are so powerful, that the foes of freedom choose to fight them with force,” observed Governor Blaya.