Trump, Free Press and the Greek-American Photographer Chris Hondros

The National Herald Archive

Photo: Lizzie O'Leary account, Twitter.

WASHINGTON - Sen. John McCain says a free press is vital "to preserve democracy as we know it." And he cautions about efforts to muzzle a free press, saying "that's how dictators get started."

Sen. McCain spoke out Saturday answering to the comments made the last few days by the President Donald Trump concerning the media and the so called “fake news”.

“The fake news media is not my enemy; it is the enemy of the American People!” was one of the several tweets by Trump over the past week, in which he repeatedly attacked the media as "fake news."

As a response to this tweet, #NotTheEnemy began trending, with people sharing stories about journalists who in some instances, paid the ultimate price for reporting the news.

“My dear friend Chris Hondros. He was killed covering the war in Libya. Great photog. Better person. #NotTheEnemy”, user Lizzie O'Leary wrote, referring to the war photographer who was a finalist twice for a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography.

Chris Hondros was born in New York City to immigrant Greek and German parents who were child refugees after World War II. From his base in New York, Hondros worked in most of the world's major conflict zones since the late 1990s, including Kosovo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Kashmir, the West Bank, Iraq, and Liberia.

Hondros was awarded the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Photojournalism Grant in 1999. In 2001, Hondros was selected for the Pew Fellowship for International Reporting through Johns Hopkins University.

Following the September 11 attacks, Hondros took photographs at ground zero. Hondros went to cover the Liberian Civil War in 2003.

It was reported on April 20, 2011, that Hondros had been fatally wounded in a mortar attack by government forces in Misrata while covering the 2011 Libyan civil war. Photojournalist Tim Hetherington was also killed in the attack, which wounded two other photographers.

Photojournalists Guy Martin said that the group was traveling with rebel fighters. According to The New York Times, Hondros died from his injuries as a result of severe brain trauma.