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Middle East & Arab World

IFJ/EFJ Deeply Concerned About Media Safety in Syria Following Abduction of Swedish Journalists

26 November 2013

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have appealed for the safe return of two Swedish journalists who were abducted in Syria last Saturday, 23 November.

According to media reports, Magnus Falkehed, a Paris based reporter for Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, and freelance photographer Niclas Hammarström, were abducted as they were trying to leave the country. It is not known who took the journalists, but the Swedish Foreign Ministry says it is trying to get more information on the situation.

“We demand the immediate release of these highly experienced and respected journalists and we stand in solidarity with their families and colleagues," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "If they have been stopped or held by any armed group or faction we appeal for their immediate release."

This is the latest in a series of journalist kidnappings in Syria. Since the country’s uprising in March 2011, it has become the most dangerous in the world for journalists. Dozens of Syrian and international journalists have been kidnapped and it has been reported at least 40 have been killed while reporting in the country since the conflict began.

On 17 October, the IFJ called for the release of two Sky News Arabia journalists who went missing in the city of Aleppo in northern Syria, while on 26 September IFJ demanded the release of Spanish journalist Marc Maginedas. And on 9 October the IFJ/EFJ appealed for the return of French journalists Nicolas Henin and Peter Torres, who have now been missing in Syria for over five months.

"First of all, we are hoping for a speedy solution to this tragic situation,” said Jonas Nordling, President of IFJ/EFJ affiliate, the Swedish Union of Journalists (Svenska Journalistförbundet). “We also urge media organisations to uphold their duty of care for their staff and to ensure the safety of journalists covering dangerous events in the country, and we urge all journalists working there to remain vigilant at all times and protect their safety."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17

The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries