IFJ Demands Action to Free Journalists in Six Month Hostage Ordeal

The International

Federation of Journalists today demanded action to secure the immediate release

of two French journalists and their three Afghan assistants who have been held

hostage since their abduction six months ago and a Japanese journalist missing

for three months.

Stéphane Taponier,

Hervé Ghesquière, and their three Afghan assistants, working for France 3, were

taken hostage in the Kapinsa region on 30th December 2009.

Japanese journalist, Kosuke Tsuneoka, who

went missing believed kidnapped on 31st March in the Taliban

controlled city of Kunduz,

has not been heard of for three months.

"It is an outrage that the Afghan

authorities have failed, after six months, to secure the release of these journalists

whose only interest is to inform the world of the reality of Afghanistan,"

said Aidan White, IFJ General

Secretary. "The suffering caused to these journalists and their families is intolerable

and must end today."

The hostage takers issued a video of the

captive journalists in April where the French journalists were forced to read

out statements that they would be executed unless the demands were met. Since

then there has been no further news.

The French Journalists' unions continue to

campaign for the release of their colleagues.

Patrick Kamenka, member of the Steering

Committee of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the regional body of

the IFJ, and representative of the French union SNJ-CGT called for the

mobilisation of the global journalists' profession to demand their safe return.

"This is primarily a tragedy for our

colleagues and their families, but also a threat to the work of all

professional journalists seeking to report and explain the causes of conflict,"

said Olivier Da Lage, IFJ Vice President and member of the SNJ.

The IFJ says that once again Journalists

have been targeted and made victims highlighting the increasing dangers they

face when reporting from conflict areas. Journalists' employers must do more to

ensure their journalists are fully prepared, trained and have all necessary

protection before venturing into conflict areas. Governments meanwhile are

obliged under Security Council Resolution 1738 to guarantee the safety of

journalists in conflict zones.  

For more information, contact +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide