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Four "New York Times" journalists missing; "The Guardian" correspondent released

(IPI/IFEX) - 17 March 2011 - Four journalists from The New York Times who were reporting on the Libyan unrest have gone missing, the newspaper reported on Wednesday, 16 March.

The Libyan government has said it will help locate the journalists, and has given its assurance that if the journalists were captured, they would be released unharmed, Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, is quoted as saying.

Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid, reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell, and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario were last in touch with editors at the paper on Tuesday, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad for the UK-based daily The Guardian has been released, the publication reported on its website yesterday. Abdul- Ahad's release from a prison outside Tripoli comes two weeks after he was detained along with Andrei Netto, a correspondent for a Brazilian publication. Netto was released last week.

"Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear from journalists from The New York Times, The Guardian or any other media house," said IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills. "We welcome the release of Abdul-Ahad, and call for the immediate release of the Times' journalists. It is unacceptable for reporters - local or foreign - to be attacked for practicing their profession."

As the conflict in Libya has escalated, foreign journalists have come under increasing pressure. The whereabouts of several other reporters remains unknown, and on 12 March, Al Jazeera cameraman Al Jaber was killed and two of his travelling companions wounded when their vehicle was fired on in an ambush near the eastern city of Benghazi.
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