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Reporters Committee Steering Committee member and AP Photographer Scott Applewhite remembers Anja Niedringhaus

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Associated Press Senior Photojournalist J. Scott Applewhite, a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Steering Committee,…

Associated Press Senior Photojournalist J. Scott Applewhite, a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Steering Committee, remarked on the death of AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was shot by Afghan police in Kabul while on assignment with AP Correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was wounded. Said Applewhite:

It is a grim day for our profession as we learn about the loss of AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus who was shot dead in Afghanistan by a uniformed gunman. AP reporter Kathy Gannon was wounded in the same attack and is in stable condition after undergoing surgery. Many of us met, worked with and appreciated Anja over the years. She cared deeply about those who passed in front of her lens, which makes her senseless death so much more tragic.

Anja Niedringhaus is remembered by her friend of 22 years, Santiago Lyon, AP’s photography director: “Anja was one of the most talented, bravest and accomplished photojournalists of her generation. Her storytelling skill with a camera was extraordinarily effective, a reflection of her own open gaze and genuine compassion for her subjects.”

“Her enthusiasm and good cheer were infectious, even in the darkest of circumstances. She consistently volunteered for the hardest assignments and was remarkably resilient in carrying them out time after time. She truly believed in the need to bear witness.” Anja was a real all-rounder and was well recognized for her myriad accomplishments: she was a Pulitzer Prize winner, a recipient of the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award, a Nieman Fellow and a World Press Photo jury member. She also published a book of her work with an accompanying exhibition.

Associated Press CEO Gary Pruitt reminds us that in so many conflict zones around the world, journalism has become more dangerous: “Where once reporters and photographers were seen as the impartial eyes and ears of crucial information, today they are often targets. This is a profession of the brave and the passionate, those committed to the mission of bringing to the world information that is fair, accurate and important. Anja Niedringhaus met that definition in every way.”

To understand this extraordinary, compassionate photojournalist, view what Anja saw through her camera.

Sadly, we had to cover the story of one of our own today. The byline says it all: Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.

About the Reporters Committee

Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.