Ex-hostages question French press being in Iraq

7th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 7 (AFP) - Two French journalists held hostage for four months in Iraq late last year on Friday questioned the viability of sending reporters to the strife-torn country, amid fears for a correspondent missing for two days.

PARIS, Jan 7 (AFP) - Two French journalists held hostage for four months in Iraq late last year on Friday questioned the viability of sending reporters to the strife-torn country, amid fears for a correspondent missing for two days.

"These are extremely dangerous times in Iraq. We should maintain a presence, but maybe we need to rethink the plan of action. Is it worth staying for long periods of time?" Radio France Internationale correspondent Christian Chesnot told AFP.

"Might it be better to be based in Amman and make brief stopovers for three or four days at a time? People would be less vulnerable," added Chesnot.

Chesnot's comments came as President Jacques Chirac warned journalists to stay out of Iraq, and as fears mounted for French reporter Florence Aubenas, who went missing in Baghdad on Wednesday, along with her Iraqi translator.

Chesnot and Le Figaro reporter Georges Malbrunot were released by Iraqi insurgents on December 21 after four months in captivity.

For his part, Malbrunot said: "Can we still work in Baghdad today, in a Sunni country? Isn't sending journalists to this country just playing the game of kidnappers who are waiting for precisely that?"

Both Chesnot and Malbrunot were attending Chirac's traditional New Year's reception for the press on Friday.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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