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REPORTER, TRANSLATOR FREED

Calling it a "day of joy", press freedom advocates around the world hailed the release of French reporter Florence Aubenas and Iraqi translator Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi from captivity on 12 June 2005. The pair had been held hostage in Iraq for more than five months.

Aubenas, a veteran war correspondent for the daily newspaper "Libération", and Hanoun al-Saadi were abducted on 5 January by unidentified individuals. Dozens of European media organisations and journalists, including 150 news media executives and editors, rallied to support Aubenas and Hanoun al-Saadi and raise awareness of the kidnappings.

Hanoun al-Saadi was reunited with his family in Baghdad shortly after his release, while Aubenas arrived home in France on 12 June.

While welcoming the release, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said Iraqi authorities must do more to ensure the safety of journalists working in the country.

The IFEX member is drafting guidelines on safety precautions for journalists in Iraq, and has produced a safety package containing a handbook of safety tips, first aid kits and a CD-Rom guide to security and protection for media staff.

IFJ has also opened a safety centre in Baghdad to provide round the clock assistance to journalists and to host hostile-training programmes.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 30 journalists have been kidnapped by armed groups in Iraq since April 2004.

Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) notes that French cameraman Fred Nérac remains missing more than three years after he lost contact with colleagues in southern Iraq on 22 March 2003 while filming for British broadcaster ITN.

Visit these links:
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=3184&Language=EN
- RSF:
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=14050
- CPJ:
http://www.cpj.org/news/2005/Iraq13june05na.html
- List of Abducted Journalists in Iraq: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2003/gulf03/iraq_abducted.html

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