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Afghanistan: IFJ demands action to free journalists in six-month hostage ordeal

A man signs a petition on a banner next to Reporters sans Frontières (Reporters without borders) tarp calling for the release of two French journalists abducted in Afghanistan and displayed on the fence of the Luxembourg garden by the French Senate on June 29, 2010 in Paris. Stephane Taponier (L) and Herve Ghesquiere (R) of France 3 television network were abducted six months ago on December 30, 2009 along with their translator, an editorial fixer and a driver on a road in eastern Afghanistan.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has 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 December 30, 2009.

Japanese journalist, Kosuke Tsuneoka, who went missing believed abducted on March 31 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.

IFJ said 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.

Date posted: July 2, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 146