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France24 February 2003

Journalists prevented from covering Franco-African Summit

Reporters Without Borders condemned today as "unacceptable" police attempts to stop journalists covering the Franco-African Summit meeting in Paris and said the media must be allowed to do its work freely.

Nicolas Garriga, cameraman for the Associated Press Television Network (APTN), and Gaël Ellissade, a motorcyclist for the firm Motopresse, were arrested in front of the conference hall today while filming. Police told them to stop taking pictures and asked to see their papers before taking them to a police station. They were released four hours later.

A dozen journalists were also detained without explanation for several hours on 20 February in front of the French foreign ministry building where they had gone to report on a demonstration against the presence at the summit of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

"The methods used by police against the media during the Summit are unacceptable," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Paris prefect Jean-Paul Proust. "Whatever steps are taken to protect the heads of state, journalists must still be allowed to do their job freely." He called on Proust to explain the incidents.

Among the dozen detained journalists were Grégory Roudier (cameraman) and Wan N’guyen (production assistant) of APTN ; Jacques Brinon, an Associated Press photographer; David Romeo, a Reuters reporter-photographer, and his motorcyclist Pascal Talleux; a cameraman, sound-man and journalist from Skynews and Juliette Errington, their translator; Cécile Feuillâtre, an Agence France-Presse (AFP) reporter and at least two journalists from the British paper The Sunday Telegraph.

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