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Hostages in Iraq

Thursday 5 May 2005: Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanoun begin their fifth month as hostages in Iraq. European media join the campaign

Reporter Florence Aubenas, of the French daily paper Libération, and her Iraqi assistant, Hussein Hanoun, have now been held by kidnappers in Iraq since 5 January. So far, 198 media outlets all over Europe have signed the 22 March Brussels Declaration by editors calling on European institutions to help win their release.

Several dozen European newspapers (including The Times, Die Welt and El País) will publish the text of the declaration Thursday 5 May.

In it, the editors say "there can be no freedom without the freedom to inform the public, everywhere and in every place." They also appeal to member-countries of the Union to "redouble their efforts" to free the five hostages.

Since 28 March, the Declaration has been amended to include three kidnapped Romanian journalists - Marie-Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci and Eduard Ovidiu Ohanesian.

All European Union members (except Cyprus and Malta) are represented among the signatories. The European media are joining together to confront this threat to freedom of information from the kidnapping of journalists in Iraq that concerns them all.

The countries that feature most among the signatories are France (89 media outlets), Belgium (15), Germany (14), the Netherlands (10) and Spain (8). There are also signatories from Bulgaria and Romania, who are not yet EU members.

European media outlets wanting to sign and reprint or broadcast the Declaration can download it from the Reporters Without Borders website,, which includes a list of all those who have signed so far.

Libération, the World Association of Newspapers, the European Broadcasting Union, the World Editors Forum and Reporters Without Borders are organising this campaign.

-  Big-screen projection on Tuesday 10 May, at 17:00 in Place de la Concorde, in Paris

10 May will be the 125th day in captivity for Aubenas and Hanoun, who were kidnapped on 5 January.

Reporters Without Borders and Libération, along with the Association nationale des agences conseils en événement, ANAé), invite the media to a projection of the hostages’ pictures on two giant screens (40 square metres) set up on the Place de la Concorde, at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées in Paris.

The organisers thank the company Supervision (for the big screens) and the firm CAT (for the loan of two electrical generators).


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