CJFE Calls for Swift Release of Journalists Kidnapped in Somalia



    TORONTO, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
calls for the swift release of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and her
three colleagues who were kidnapped on Saturday, August 23, 2008, near the
Somalian capital of Mogadishu.
    Lindhout, a free-lance journalist who is said to be reporting for French
television while in Somalia, was visiting a refugee camp when she and her
companion, Australian journalist, Nigel Brennan, along with a Somalian
journalist Abdifatah Elmi, and their driver, identified as Mahad, were
abducted.
    "We are saddened to hear of yet another attack on journalists in
Somalia," said CJFE President Arnold Amber. "We hope that those involved will
do the right thing and immediately and unconditionally release these
journalists and their driver."
    CJFE has been in touch with Somalian-based free expression organization
the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ), who has said that no group
or party has yet taken responsibility for the kidnapping, and no ransom
demands have yet been made public. However, NUSOJ thinks it is quite likely
that the motivation for the kidnapping is financial.
    In early August, two Italian aid workers were released after being taken
hostage in Somalia, amid reports that a US $1,000,000 ransom was paid.
    CJFE joins with NUSOJ in calling upon the transitional government,
Mogadishu elders and intellectuals to take immediate steps to protect all
journalists from becoming victims of violence and intimidation, and in
particular to work for the swift release of these journalists and their
driver.
    CJFE is extremely concerned about the danger facing all journalists
working in Somalia. Last year, Ali Iman Sharmarke, a Somali Canadian who
helped co-found the Horn Afrik radio station was killed when his car drove
over a remote-controlled landmine as he was returning from the funeral of
another journalist, Mahad Ahmed Elmi.
    A total of eight journalists were killed in Somalia in 2007, making it
one of the deadliest countries in the world.

    Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more
than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who
work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and
abroad. www.cjfe.org





For further information:

For further information: CJFE Manager, Julie Payne at (416) 515-9622
x.226


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