Journalists reacted with horror and sadness Thursday to the death of Daniel
Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter taken hostage one month ago by
Islamic extremists in Pakistan while reporting a story on terrorism.
Pearl's death was confirmed by the State Department following evidence that,
reports said, included a videotape that either showed Pearl dead or being
The Committee to Protect Journalists said it "condemns the brutal, wanton
and senseless murder of Daniel Pearl. We call on Pakistani authorities to devote
the full resources at their disposal to apprehend and prosecute his killers."
Only the day before, the U.S. government had redefined its policy on U.S.
hostages taken in foreign countries, stating that it would "make every effort"
toward the release of Americans kidnapped overseas, while still ruling
out ransom or other concessions.
Barbara Cochran, president of the Radio-Television News Directors
Association, who was a CBS News executive when correspondent Bob Simon was
captured during the Gulf War, noted that the government's commitment to greater
engagement "is certainly a change in policy."
Simon was released unharmed.
Pearl's death, Cochran said, "is a reminder that journalists do very
dangerous things and risk their lives to try and get information for the
Previously, there had been numerous false reports of Pearl's death, as well
as ransom demands, which could not be confirmed.
The State Department condemned the killing and called it "an outrage."
Pearl's employer, The Wall Street Journal, also issued a statement
saying that it accepted the reports of Pearl's death from the U.S. and Pakistani
"We are heartbroken at his death," Journal publisher Peter Kann said
in a prepared statement.
Pearl reported from Europe and Asia, as well as the United States, in his 12
years at the Journal.
The 38-year-old Pearl's wife, Mariane, is pregnant with
the couple's first child.