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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

After Italy, France threatened by Iraqi terrorist group

You know this weblog is not dedicated to press freedom issues. But after the assassination of Enzo Baldoni, an Italian journalist, it's impossible to be silent... And since 20 August, the same terrorist group has taken as hostages two French journalists and has warned that they faced death if France refuses to yield to their demands to repeal legislation which will ban Islamic headscarves in schools. Here in Paris, we have a thought for all journalists working in Iraq: they are doing their job and only their job.

According to The Guardian, "new footage showing the radio correspondent Christian Chesnot of RFI and Le Point and Georges Malbrunot of Le Figaro and Ouest-France was broadcast on the Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera, soon after the 48-hour deadline for their release expired. Their captors extended the deadline for the government to overturn the law by a further 24 hours.

"I call on President [Jacques] Chirac to _ retract the veil ban immediately and I call on French people to protest the veil ban. It is a wrong and unjust law and we may die at any time," Chesnot said, according to al-Jazeera's translation into Arabic...

The French Muslim organisations which had opposed the new headscarf law expressed outrage at the kidnapping and condemned foreign interference in a domestic issue.

The Union of French Islamic Organisations (UOIF), which had previously urged schoolgirls to flout the ban, said it was vital to avoid exacerbating hostility towards France's 5 million strong Muslim population."

Source: The Guardian

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on August 31, 2004 at 11:11 AM in n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom | Permalink

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