Second French TV station pulls crews from Iraq

23rd September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 23 (AFP) - French state-owned television network France 3 said Thursday it would stop sending journalists to Iraq because of security concerns, becoming the second French network in two days to suspend operations there.

PARIS, Sept 23 (AFP) - French state-owned television network France 3 said Thursday it would stop sending journalists to Iraq because of security concerns, becoming the second French network in two days to suspend operations there.  

The last team sent by France 3 returned home from Iraq on Wednesday, the network's national news director Ulysse Gosset told Europe 1 radio.  

"What they are telling me is very worrying for journalists. All the warning lights are flashing red, 'beware of danger', and French nationals are especially not out of harm's way," Gosset said.  

"France is not an enemy state for the Iraqis, but it's a Western country, and all Westerners, including journalists, are now potential targets," he added.   On Wednesday, the country's top commercial network TF1 said it had stopped sending news teams to Iraq because of the risk of kidnappings.  

The announcements came as Paris pursued efforts to secure the release of Radio France correspondent Christian Chesnot, Le Figaro reporter Georges Malbrunot and their Syrian driver, who were abducted in Iraq on August 20.  

This week, Islamic extremists have beheaded two US engineers involved in reconstruction work in Iraq and threatened to kill their British co-worker, who Wednesday appealed to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to help save his life.  

Another extremist group claimed it had murdered two Italian aid workers kidnapped two weeks ago, but the Italian government urged the utmost caution, saying it could not confirm the report.  

France 2, another state-owned television network, will maintain its presence in Iraq for the time being, according to the station's deputy director general in charge of news, Arlette Chabot.  

"We want to be present in Baghdad as long as the French journalists and their Syrian driver are being held hostage," Chabot told Europe 1, while acknowledging that working conditions were "really very difficult".

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

 

 

 

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