STATEMENT ON PAUL SALOPEK
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.