National Press Club Lauds Release of Journalists in Libya, Worries Over Others

Mar 21, 2011, 15:05 ET from National Press Club

WASHINGTON, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Press Club praised Monday the release of four New York Times journalists who had been kidnapped in Libya but called attention to the as yet unresolved disappearance of other reporters there.

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The Times reported that its four employees, who had been held for six days, were released Monday to Turkish authorities and crossed into Tunisia. The journalists are Anthony Shadid, the Times' Beirut bureau chief; two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who have extensive experience in war zones; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell.

At the same time, Al Jazeera has reported that Libyan authorities have held four of its journalists for several days: correspondents Ahmed Vall Ould Addin and Lotfi al-Messaoudi and cameramen Kamel Atalua and Ammar al-Hamdan.

In addition, Agence-France Presse said two of its journalists, Dave Clark and Roberto Schmidt, and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle are unaccounted for since March 18.

Several local journalists have been detained or gone missing, and on March 19, a Libyan online broadcaster was killed by gunfire while reporting outside Benghazi, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"We are very pleased that the four New York Times journalists who were detained by Libyan forces were released today," said National Press Club President  Mark Hamrick. "We want to thank the Embassy of Turkey in Tripoli for receiving the journalists and assisting in their release. We urge Libyan leaders and others in the region to refrain from causing journalists to be detained, intimidated or harmed while fulfilling their professional duties and responsibilities."

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, since February there have been 50 attacks on the press in Libya. Two people have died, 33 detained and five assaulted. In addition, two news facilities were attacked, considerable amounts of equipment have been confiscated, Internet service has been interrupted and at least two satellite news transmissions have been jammed, the group said.

The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists with more than 3,300 members worldwide representing every major news organization. More than 250,000 people visit the Club each year to attend more than 2,000 events. The Club was founded in 1908 and is on the web at press.org.

SOURCE National Press Club