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Times reporters freed in Libya; 13 still missing, detained

Photojournalists, including New York Times staff photographer Tyler Hicks (R), photograph Libyan rebels on March 10, 2011 in Ras Lanuf, Libya. Hicks and three other New York Times journalists, Stephen Farrell, Lynsey Addario and Anthony Shadid were released March 21, 2011 after being held captive by Libyan forces.

Four New York Times journalists have been freed in Libya but 13 other journalists are either missing or reported in Libyan government custody, according to New York-based press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

"Four journalists from Al-Jazeera, two from Agence France-Presse, and one from Getty Images are either being detained by Libyan authorities or are missing," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Six Libyan journalists are also missing and unaccounted for. We call on Libyan authorities to release those journalists in their custody and to assist in efforts to locate those who are missing."

The four New York Times journalists--Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, Lynsey Addario and Tyler Hicks—were released to Turkish diplomats and crossed safely into Tunisia Monday, according to the Times.

Al-Jazeera correspondents Ahmed Vall Ould Addin and Lotfi al-Messaoudi, and cameramen Kamel Atalua and Ammar al-Hamdan remained in custody after being detained in western Libya. Al-Jazeera disclosed the detentions on Sunday, saying the journalists had been in custody for several days.

AFP journalists Dave Clark and Roberto Schmidt and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle are unaccounted for. AFP said the journalists were last heard from via email on Friday night, as they were about to drive out of the eastern city of Tobruk.

Six local journalists who spoke critically of government policies are also missing, although there is wide speculation that they are in the custody of forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi. The missing journalists are Atef al-Atrash, a contributor to local news outlets; Mohamed al-Sahim, a blogger and critical political writer; Mohamed al-Amin, a cartoonist; Idris al-Mismar, a writer and former editor-in-chief of Arajin, a monthly culture magazine; Salma al-Shaab, head of the Libyan Journalists Syndicate; and Suad al-Turabouls, a correspondent for the pro-government Al-Jamahiriya. Three of the six went missing shortly after speaking to Al-Jazeera on the air.

Since Libya's revolt began in February, CPJ has documented more than 50 attacks on the press, including two fatalities, more than 33 detentions, five assaults, two attacks on news facilities, numerous instances of equipment confiscation, three cases of obstruction, the jamming of at least two satellite news transmissions, and the interruption of Internet service.

Date posted: March 22, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 54