Wednesday 24 August 2011

Committe to Protect Journalists: 'Trapped journalists in Tripoli must be treated as civilians'

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on all forces fighting in Tripoli to ensure the safety of journalists and respect their status as civilians.

"We are concerned about the safety of journalists trapped in Tripoli's Rixos hotel," said CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney. "All sides in the conflict have an obligation to avoid harming journalists and to respect their status under international law as civilians."

More than 30 journalists have been holed up in the Rixos Hotel, located near the Qaddafi regime compound in Tripoli, since the fighting for the capital began several days ago, according to news reports. Journalists in the hotel said that snipers were positioned around the property where pro-Gaddafi forces are still operating.
  • BBC News reports a "desperate situation" is developing at the Rixos hotel, according to a BBC journalist trapped there along with some 35 other journalists and foreign nationals.

    Conditions "deteriorated massively" overnight, reported BBC correspondent Matthew Price, with pro-Gaddafi guards patrolling the corridors.

    "It became clear that we were unable to leave the hotel by our own free will," he told the Today programme.

    He reported that an ITN cameraman had an AK47 pulled on him by a guard, and that it is suspected that there are snipers on the roof.

  • Reporters Without Borders has urged all the parties involved to ensure the safety of journalists, both Libyan and foreign, who are covering developments in Libya. RWB said the National Transitional Council, which has been recognised by many countries as Libya’s provisional government, must do everything in its power to allow journalists to cover the fighting freely and safely.
  • BBC News has slideshow of pictures taken inside Rixos Hotel.
  • Huff Post Media has video from inside hotel.
  • Guardian has video from inside hotel.
  • The NUJ has called on the British Foreign Office and other authorities to assist in safeguarding foreign journalists under siege at the Rixos Hotel. NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “We hope that the British and other authorities will do everything they can to safeguard journalists who are caught up in the current events in Tripoli. The NUJ is working with our colleagues in the International Federation of Journalists to protect the interests of foreign journalists in Tripoli, and we look forward to their safe return.”
  • UPDATE: 5:32pm SKY News reports journalists free to leave Rixos Hotel

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