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Belgian Documentary Filmmakers Released

PRESS RELEASE/UPDATE - INDONESIA

17 August 2001

SOURCE: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York

**Updates IFEX alerts of 20 and 5 July, 28, 21 and 19 June 2001**

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 16 August 20001 CPJ press release:

INDONESIA: CPJ welcomes release of Belgian filmmakers held hostage

New York, August 16, 2001---The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes today's release of Philippe Simon and Johan van Den Eynde, two Belgian documentary filmmakers who were held hostage by a faction of the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, or OPM) for more than two months in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, also known as Papua.

The armed group, which is fighting for independence from Indonesian rule, kidnapped the two filmmakers in early June to attract international attention to their cause.

"CPJ is greatly relieved that Simon and van Den Eynde are finally free and appear to be in good health," said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. "However, we remain concerned about risks faced by other journalists covering Papua."

Titus Murib, leader of the OPM faction responsible for the kidnapping, told a representative from the Jakarta office of the Southeast Asian Press Alliance who witnessed the release that OPM would guarantee the safety of journalists reporting in the restive territory.

"We hope the OPM pledge means the group will never again seek to achieve its propaganda goals by kidnapping journalists," Cooper said. "CPJ calls on rebel groups and state security forces in Indonesia to respect the right of all journalists to work without fear of harassment, abduction, or other reprisals."

For more information on press conditions in Indonesia, visit the CPJ Web

site at www.cpj.org. CPJ is a New York-based, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of journalists that works to defend press freedom worldwide.

For further information, contact Asia Program Coordinator Kavita Menon or Research Associate Sophie Beach at CPJ, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10001, U.S.A., tel: +1 212 465 1004, fax: +1 212 465 9568, e-mail: asia@cpj.org, Internet: http://www.cpj.org/

The information contained in this press release/update is the sole responsibility of CPJ. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit CPJ. _________________________________________________________________
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION EXCHANGE (IFEX) CLEARING HOUSE 489 College Street, Suite 403, Toronto (ON) M6G 1A5 CANADA tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879 alerts e-mail: alerts@ifex.org general e-mail: ifex@ifex.org Internet site: http://www.ifex.org _________________________________________________________________

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