IFJ Welcomes Release of French Journalists Held Hostages in Afghanistan

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

December 2009.

"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