GlobalPost says four reports from US held in Libya

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2011 5:41 PM
GlobalPost says four reports from US held in Libya

An American correspondent for GlobalPost and three other journalists were taken prisoner by forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, the Boston-based international news website announced Thursday.

Editors were told by the New York-based Human Rights Watch that James Foley of Rochester, New Hampshire, and three other journalists were taken captive Tuesday evening while they were reporting on the outskirts of Brega, GlobalPost spokesman Rick Byrne said.

Foley regularly contributes videos and dispatches and had been traveling with Libyan rebels, Byrne said. Editors last heard from him on Monday evening, Byrne said.

"We want to make sure he is released as quickly as possible, and that he is safe," said Byrne.

GlobalPost said it has been in contact with Foley's family and is working with the U.S. State Department, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists to gather information and secure the journalists' release.

American freelance reporter Clare Morgana Gillis was among the group when they were detained, according to The Atlantic editor James Bennet.

Morgana Gillis was "reporting on the situation in Libya on behalf of The Atlantic and other American publications," Bennet said in a statement. "We appeal to the Libyan authorities for her immediate and safe release, and for that of the three other journalists detained with her."

Spanish photographer Manu Brabo and South African photographer Anton Hammerl are also believed to be detained, according to Byrne.

Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and president, said in a statement the news organization has asked the Libyan foreign media office for the immediate release of Foley and the other detained journalists.

"We appeal to the Libyan authorities for the immediate and safe release of these journalists," Balboni said. "Our thoughts are with Jim's family and with the families of the other journalists."

Moussa Ibrahim, the Libyan government spokesman, said of the journalists:

"They would be very lucky if they are caught by the Libyan army. They have every right to question them and ask who they are. If they are journalists then legally they have violated the law of this country by entering its country without the legal authorities. We have indeed released dozens of journalists."

Besides GlobalPost, Foley has written for a number of news organizations including Stars and Stripes and Al Jazeera.

Foley worked for years as a teacher in Phoenix and Chicago before going back to school to study journalism in 2007, according to Stars and Stripes. He later reported on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publication said on its website.

Foley has also appeared on PBS News Hour and sent video dispatches to CBS Nightly News.

Reporters Without Borders said about 100 foreign reporters are in Libya to cover the conflict between longtime leader Gadhafi and rebel forces.

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Associated Press correspondent Hadeel Al-Shalchi in Tripoli contributed to this report.