FCA concerned by detention of journalist in Sudan


Johannesburg, August 28, 2006

The Foreign Correspondents' Association of Southern Africa is deeply concerned 

about the detention by Sudanese authorities of Paul Salopek, a journalist for 

the Chicago Tribune and National Geographic magazine. Mr Salopek, a former 

member of the FCA of Southern Africa, was arrested by Sudanese authorities 

three weeks ago along with two Chadians assisting him. Mr Salopek was working 

in Darfur on a story for National Geographic. On Aug. 26, a Sudanese court in 

El Fasher charged Mr Salopek with espionage, passing information illegally, 

writing "false news" and entering the country without a visa. 

The FCA vigorously protests the idea that Mr Salopek was involved in espionage 

of any kind. Mr Salopek is not a spy but a well-respected and two-time 

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.

The FCA of Southern Africa believes that freedom of the press and respect for 

journalists play a crucial role in building good governance. Both the New 

Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Commission for Africa see 

good governance as key to growth in Africa. Holding Mr Salopek hinders those 

aims. We urge NEPAD and the Commission for Africa to use their influence with 

Khartoum and ask for the immediate release of Mr Salopek.

"Paul Salopek is not and never has been a spy," said FCA of Southern Africa 

Chairman John Chiahemen. "His continued detention on these charges makes a 

mockery of Sudan's commitment to freedom of the press."

For more information please phone Martina Schwikowski on 083 260 4488

* The Foreign Correspondents' Association of Southern Africa is a nonprofit 

organization representing the interests of some 175 international journalists 

based in southern Africa. In addition to holding regular events with 

newsmakers, the association acts as a watchdog for press freedom and strives 

to ensure that its members are able to work throughout the region without 

being intimidated or harassed.