ALERT: US - RSF urges authorities to determine if blogger Zachary Stoner's murder is connected to his reporting

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores the murder of Chicago-based music journalist and video blogger Zachary Stoner, who was shot and killed in Chicago on May 30. We urge the authorities to fully investigate his death to determine if he was targeted for his reporting.

“RSF is deeply shocked by Zachary Stoner’s death and sends condolences to his family, friends, and those impacted by his work,” said Margaux Ewen, RSF’s North America Director. “Zachary gave voice to local musicians and reported on matters of public interest to those in his community. We are incredibly concerned about his murder and urge the authorities to investigate whether it was related to his work as a journalist.”

Though most of Stoner’s work as a video blogger was related to Chicago rap musicians and local gang members, Stoner had received threats related to his coverage of Kenneka Jenkins, a young woman who was found dead in a walk-in freezer at a Chicago hotel in September. Though the death was ruled an accident, it prompted social media attention and numerous conspiracy theories. Stoner conducted interviews with Jenkins’ friends and before he published the videos to his YouTube channel, “ZachTV1,” he received a warning from an anonymous caller in October to “leave the case alone…for your safety.” Stoner said he initially didn’t publish the interviews because his house had been broken into, his camera equipment stolen, and he was receiving threatening phone calls and emails. But in late November, he finally posted them online.

The United States ranks 45th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index after falling 2 places in the last year.

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Published on
Updated on 07.06.2018