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Reporter’s killing renews concerns about attacks on journalists

Updated September 8, 2022 - 6:11 pm

WASHINGTON — The killing of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German and the arrest of an elected county official in connection with the death has drawn national attention and renewed concern about attacks on journalists.

German, 69, wrote several stories about reports of bullying and a toxic workplace under Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, who lost a re-election bid in June.

The respected journalist was stabbed to death on Friday outside his Las Vegas home. Telles was arrested Wednesday in connection with the crime.

Worldwide, some 50 journalists or media workers have been killed so far this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Many of those deaths occurred in Mexico and Ukraine.

There have been 16 journalists, including German, killed in the United States between 1992 and 2022, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Following are statements issued by organizations devoted to protecting journalists and free speech:

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“The murder of Jeff German is a reminder that everyday journalists around the world put their lives on the line to uncover the truth. We are saddened by the murder of the veteran investigative reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal and thankful that Las Vegas law enforcement has arrested a suspect in this case.

“As the Review-Journal reported, many described Jeff as a fearless reporter, the embodiment of the First Amendment, who stood up for society’s underdogs and had a strong sense of right and wrong. We should honor Jeff by continuing to be like him, a person of courage, compassion and commitment to the truth.

“We at SPJ send our condolences to Jeff’s colleagues at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, family and friends. May he rest in peace.”

Rebecca Aguilar, Society of Professional Journalists national president

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“The Nevada Press Association was shocked and outraged by the murder this weekend of one of our own, investigative reporter Jeff German. Through his aggressive and fair reporting, Jeff consistently cast a light on political corruption and wrongdoing throughout the Las Vegas Valley. He served as a model for all journalists who ask tough questions and hold the powerful accountable.

“We have been especially horrified by new details that have emerged over the past 24 hours. As an organization dedicated to defending and promoting press freedom in Nevada, we are deeply distressed by the possibility that this attack may have been perpetrated by a public official whose actions German was investigating. That would be a dagger directed at the heart of a free press and a blow to our democracy.

“This is a dark and tragic moment for Nevada journalism. Our members face threats every day for doing their job: Questioning authorities and uncovering the facts. NPA stands with all Nevada journalists who are processing this loss.

“We want to thank Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for moving swiftly to seek justice in this killing. We also want to acknowledge the courage and professionalism of the Las Vegas Review-Journal newsroom, which has helped to uncover the murder of a colleague under the most difficult of circumstances. Their continued work is a testament to the resiliency of our profession and highlights the power of fact-based reporting.”

Richard Karpel, executive director of the Nevada Press Association

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“Las Vegas police have acted quickly in identifying and arresting a suspect in the fatal stabbing of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. Authorities should ensure that all those involved in this terrible crime are identified and held to account, and should make clear that those who target journalists will face justice.”

Carlos Martinez de la Serna, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ program director

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“Jeff German’s murder is truly shocking, in particular given the likelihood that he was killed in retaliation for his journalism. That makes this not just a crime against German, but a crime against the profession itself and the ideals of a free press. We appreciate the Las Vegas police department’s swift action in arresting a suspect and urge a speedy, transparent investigation.”

Clayton Weimers, executive director of Reporters Without Borders’ U.S. bureau

“The possibility that German may have been murdered by a government official in retaliation for his work as an investigative journalist is horrifying and deeply disturbing. It demands a resounding response from political leaders to commit to defending the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists. We join German’s family and his colleagues at the Las Vegas Review-Journal in mourning his devastating loss, and we stand with all journalists against attempts to intimidate and silence.”

Nadine Farid Johnson, Washington managing director PEN America

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