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FARC releases French journalist Romeo Langlois

(FLIP/IFEX) - 30 May 2012 - FLIP celebrates the 30 May release of journalist Romeo Langlois in San Isidro region, Montañita municipality, Caquetá, and is grateful for the willingness of the International Committee of the Red Cross, former senator Piedad Córdoba and French government delegate Jean-Baptiste Chauvin, to assist with his liberation.

Langlois, a correspondent for France 24 TV and Le Figaro newpaper, was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on 28 April while he was accompanying a military anti-narcotics operation in the forests in Caquetá for research for a documentary on drug trafficking in Colombia.

During the operation there was a confrontation between the army and the FARC's Frente 15 division. Langlois was caught in the crossfire, injured in the arm and surrendered to the guerrilla group. The FARC released him after announcing on 27 May that they would do so.

What happened to Langlois should serve as an opportunity to reflect on the safety issues that journalists covering armed conflict must deal with regularly in Colombia. Journalists should continue the important and brave work they are doing on this crucial topic and all armed actors must respect the work of the press.

FLIP takes this opportunity to call attention to disturbing attacks on the press that have taken place this year in Colombia. FLIP has recorded 42 cases of threats, 11 of them carried out by criminal gangs, mainly affecting journalists in the departments of Cesar, Antioquia and Arauca. Special attention should be given to the intimidation of journalists who are investigating land restitution in Córdoba.
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