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Radio France Internationale reporters murdered in Mali

Pictures of Ghislaine Dupont, right, and Claude Verlon are displayed on a poster in Paris, 3 November 2013.
Pictures of Ghislaine Dupont, right, and Claude Verlon are displayed on a poster in Paris, 3 November 2013.

AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

Reporters Without Borders is appalled by the abduction and murder of two French journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, on 2 November in the northern city of Kidal. They worked for Radio France Internationale.

“The summary execution of these two RFI journalists is vile and unspeakable,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “We feel both outrage and disgust that journalists who had the courage to cover an area such as the Kidal region were shot in cold blood after interviewing someone.

“We grieve for them, their families and their RFI colleagues, we are concerned for the residents of the Ifoghas massif, whose plight deserves to be covered, and we condemn this double murder, which sadly highlights the lawlessness still prevailing in northern Mali. This act was not only criminal but also terrorist in nature, one designed to deter outside media coverage.”

Dupont and Verlon were kidnapped and shot after conducting an interview in Kidal. Their bodies were found about 10 km from the town centre. Their fate recalls that of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, decapitated by his abductors in Pakistan in 2002, and Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, kidnapped and executed in Iraq in 2004.

Today's double murder is another unfortunate example of the growing violence to which journalists are exposed. No fewer than 88 were killed in the course of their work in 2012. This was the worst toll since Reporters Without Borders began keep an annual tally in 1995.

A total of 45 journalists have been killed worldwide since the start of 2013. Four French journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the uprising in March 2011.

Mali was ranked 99th in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, a fall of 74 places from its position in 2012.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Two RFI journalists abducted, killed in Mali

    Gunmen in the town of Kidal kidnapped Dupont, a senior reporter, and Verlon, a sound engineer, as they finished an interview at around 1 p.m. at the home of Ambery Ag Rissa, a leader of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a group of ethnic Tuareg separatists, according to news reports.

  • World's Press Stunned by Killings of French Journalists in Mali

    Ghislaine Dupont, 51, had covered African news for RFI for more than 25 years, reporting from across the continent. She spent ten years reporting from the Democratic Republic of Congo before being deported ahead of presidential elections in 2006. Her continued reporting on the DRC led to RFI being banned from the airwaves in the country for over a year.

  • Mali: Two French RFI journalists killed

    Dozens of journalists and media outlets have been attacked in this part of the country since the coup of 22 March 2012 causing many journalists to flee from these areas. The vast majority of these crimes have been committed by insurgents.

  • Condemning murder of two French journalists in Mali

    This murder, described by Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird as “barbaric,” indicates a further erosion of freedom of expression and worsening violence against journalists in Mali. This is further evidenced by the growing tensions and tightened media controls faced by Kidal –based journalists in the lead up to the November 24 Malian parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, security is steadily declining in the vast northern region of Mali due to the increasing influence of AQIM and MNLA, putting the lives of journalists at risk despite international efforts to safeguard them.

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