President Barack Obama on Thursday met the familu of Steven Sotloff, the U.S. journalist who was executed by Islamic State militants in 2014. Obama met Sotloff's parents, Art and Shirley Sotloff, and his sister Lauren.
Obama expressed his condolences to the family and conveyed the same on behalf of the first lady. The mother of the journalist had made a video request to ISIS days before the execution and asked the militant organization to spare her son.
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Obama appreciated the family’s efforts to support journalists through their foundation: 2Lives: Steven Joel Sotloff Memorial Foundation. The foundation helps those who report from conflict-torn regions.
Obama “appreciated the chance to hear from the Sotloffs more about Steven's work as a journalist,” CBS News quoted Meehan, “including his passion for bringing the stories of people who are suffering to the rest of the world in the hope of making a positive difference, including in Syria."
Sotloff report from the Middle East for Tine, covering stories from Libya. In August 2013, he was kidnapped by ISIS militants in Syria. ISIS released a video in September 2014 that showed the apparent beheading of the 31-year-old.
The White House has been reviewing its hostage policy since November. ABC News reported that the review was “nearing completion.” White House press secretary Josh Earnest earlier clarified that the United States was not keen on paying ransoms to terrorists to get American hostages free.
CNN reported that 34 journalists were killed in 2014. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of deaths includes reprisal murders, those killed in combat and those on dangerous assignments. The highest number of deaths in one year is 74, which happened in 2009 and in 2012.
The lowest number took place in 2002, when 21 journalists were killed. Out of 34 casualties in 2014, 18 journalists died in the Middle East. Four were killed in Ukraine and two each in Brazil and Paraguay.