The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the
release of two French journalists of France 3, Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane
Taponier who were held hostages in Afghanistan since their kidnapping on 30
"This is excellent news for our colleagues, their families and
friends, "said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We are relieved that, after
eighteen long months spent at times with no news about the journalists, their
interpreter and their two guides, the agony is now over with their release."
French President Nicholas Sarkozy broke the news yesterday afternoon and
his Prime Minister François Fillon said that the former hostages were "in good
health and expected back in France within hours". The authorities also
announced that the journalists' interpreter, Reza Din, was freed as well.
The SNJ National Secretary, Carole Petit was reportedly "overwhelmed
with joy" and the SNJ-CGT, meeting in Paris to mark the 18th month
of the journalists' captivity, issued a statement welcoming their release and
reaffirming the importance for journalists to continue working everywhere. The
statement added that journalists are entitled to protection, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1738.
The President of France 3 said that colleagues of Hervé and Stéphane
"are eagerly awaiting for their return".
"This is a happy, albeit long overdue, ending of an incident which
reminds us of risks that journalists take to inform the public but also of the
employers' duty to ensure that journalists who are sent to dangerous zones
are properly trained and adequately covered," said Arne König, President of the
IFJ European group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ).
The IFJ recalls that the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738
(2006) calls on governments to protect journalists, media professionals and
associated personnel engaged in dangerous missions in areas of armed conflict.
IFJ/EFJ affiliates organisations in France are the Syndicat National des
Journalistes (SNJ), the Syndicat National des Journalistes-CGT (SNJ-CGT) and
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 131 countries