The Society of Professional Journalists today issued a statement to respond to the killing by the Russian military of American Journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine.
We are saddened about the killing of U.S. journalist Brent Renaud in Ukraine and condemn the actions that lead to his death. He was killed while covering the exodus of refugees from war-torn Ukraine. According to a Ukrainian news agency, Renaud and his film crew were shot by Russian troops.
At the time of his death, Renaud was working on a multi-part documentary about the refugees for MSNBC. He was an award-winning documentary video journalist who has covered war, drug addiction, gang violence, and refugees from Central America and Haiti.
“His death is a reminder to us of the danger that exists to tell these important stories,” said SPJ International Community Co-Chair Elle Toussi. “We are all diminished by his passing.”
Renaud is the second journalist to be killed covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yevhenii Sakun, a photojournalist for EFE, the Spanish news service, was killed when the Russian army destroyed the Kyiv television tower on March 1. Renaud is the first American to be killed covering the war.
“Renaud and Sakun were courageous journalists who died bringing the world the truth about the Russian attack on Ukraine,” said SPJ National President Rebecca Aguilar. “We at SPJ send our condolences to their families and pray for Renaud’s colleague, Juan Arrendondo, who was shot while the two were preparing to film refugees from Kyiv.”
The SPJ International Community calls on the Russian army to honor Rule 34 of the Geneva Convention, which states that journalists shall be considered as civilians. And to further live up to the Russian military manual, which states: “Journalists are considered civilians and enjoy protection stipulated by international humanitarian law…”
Also Gil Judson, President of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, President of the National Press Club Journalism Institute on the killing of Brent Renaud,a journalist, former New York Times contributor, and Peabody award-winning filmmaker who was working in Ukraine outside of Kyiv.
“We mourn the news of the death of journalist Brent Renaud. His fatal shooting near Irpin, reportedly by Russian forces while trying to cross a checkpoint to cover fleeing Ukrainian civilians, is a tragic reminder of the costs and stakes for journalists covering war and attacks on civilians. That so many journalists — local and foreign, freelancer and staffer are putting their health, lives and livelihoods on the line in order to cover the human costs of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a reminder to the world of why a free and independent press is so important and worthy of protection and support. Under international humanitarian law, journalists are noncombatants. We call for an investigation into the killing of Brent Renaud as a possible war crime.”
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club’s non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.
eTurboNews publisher Juergen Steinmetz echoed his condolences in adding. “This is a crime against all journalists in the world. This is not only an attack on freedom of the press but on the basic decency, we call human rights. May Renaud rest in peace.”
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.No tags for this post.