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Mar 16th, 2011

Four New York Times Journalists Missing in Libya

Pulitzer Prize-winner Shadid among them; government forces have detained others


Four NYT journalists reported missing in Libya (MSNBC, March 16, 2011) — Four journalists from the New York Times have apparently gone missing in Libya. MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell reports. (01:02)

March 16, 2011

NEW YORK — Four journalists covering the fighting in Libya for the New York Times are missing, the newspaper said Wednesday.

The New York Times said the journalists, who included two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid [related link on this site added], were last in contact with their editors Tuesday morning as they covered the rebels’ retreat from the town of Ajdabiya.

Also missing were Stephen Farrell [related link on this site added], a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued by British commandos, and two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, the newspaper said.

“We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists,” Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, said in a statement.

The Times said there were unconfirmed reports that Libyan forces had detained the foursome. He said the Libyan government had assured the Times that if the journalists have been captured, they would be released promptly and unharmed. …

Pro-Gadhafi forces have largely gained control of Ajdabiya after two days of relentless shelling but still face pockets of resistance in the city of 140,000 people. Habib al-Obeidi, a doctor at Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi, said that a colleague in Ajdabiya had told him 25 people were killed when pro-Gadhafi forces opened fire on civilian cars fleeing the city. That report could not be independently confirmed. …

Several foreign journalists have been detained, injured or killed in the unrest that has swept through the Middle East in recent weeks.

On Saturday an Al-Jazeera cameraman was killed and a correspondent wounded when their car was ambushed near Benghazi.

Earlier this month, Libyan authorities detained reporter Andrei Netto of Brazil’s Estado de S. Paulo newspaper for several days. The Libyan government said he was arrested because of mistakes he made on forms he filled out to enter Libya. A journalist from Britain’s Guardian newspaper remains missing. …

A BBC news team also said last week it had been detained by Libyan security forces, beaten and subjected to mock execution after they were arrested at a checkpoint. …

Full story

Video update

New York Times journalists missing in Libya (NBC Nightly News, March 16, 2011) — Four New York Times journalists who have been covering the crackdown on the uprising in Libya, including Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran Anthony Shadid and reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell, have disappeared. NBC’s Brian Williams reports. (00:31)


Related: PhotoBlog — See missing photojournalist’s work

One of  New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks’ photographs from recent fighting in Libya, showing opposition fighters during a battle to push west of the town of Ras Lanuf, Libya, March 9, 2011. (Photo credit: Tyler Hicks / New York Times file via Redux)


3/17/11 Update

Last Known Photo of Missing New York Times Photographers

By Jonathan Woods

World Blog
March 17, 2011

… New York Times Director of Photography Michele McNally confirmed to that this is the last known image of the photographers before they went missing. …

Journalists, including New York Times photographers Tyler Hicks (right in glasses) and Lynsey Addario (far left), run for cover during a bombing run by Libyan government planes at a checkpoint near the oil refinery of Ras Lanuf on Friday, March 11, 2011. (Photo credit: Paul Conroy / Reuters)

Full story


3/18/11 Update

Our missing journalists to be released, NY Times says (AP, March 18, 2011) – Four New York Times journalists who were reported missing while covering the Libya conflict have been found and are due be released Friday, the newspaper said on its website. The Times said they had been captured by forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. Libyan government officials told the United States State Department on Thursday evening that all four would be released, The Times reported. … Full story


3/22/11 Update

Image: Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario, Anthony Shadid, Stephen Farrell, Levent Sahinkaya
Turkey’s ambassador in Libya, Levent Sahinkaya (center), poses with the four journalists released Monday. From left to right: Stephen Farrell, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario and Anthony Shadid. (Photo credit: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs via AP)

4 New York Times journalists released in Libya (Reuters, March 21, 2011) — Libya released four New York Times journalists Monday, March 21, nearly a week after they had been captured by Libyan forces while covering the conflict there, although three journalists for other outlets remained missing. The release had been in the works since Thursday, March 17, with Turkey serving as intermediary between the U.S. and Libyan governments. … Full story


3/23/11 Update

4 Times journalists held captive in Libya faced days of brutality (Anthony Shadid, Lynsey Addario, Stephen Farrell, and Tyler Hicks, New York Times, March 23, 2011) – All of us had had close calls over the years. Lynsey was kidnapped in Falluja, Iraq, in 2004; Steve in Afghanistan in 2009. Tyler had more scrapes than he could count, from Chechnya to Sudan, and Anthony was shot in the back in 2002 by a man he believed to be an Israeli soldier. At that moment, though, none of us thought we were going to live. Steve tried to keep eye contact until they pulled the trigger. The rest of us felt the powerlessness of resignation. You feel empty when you know that it’s almost over. “Shoot them,” a tall soldier said calmly in Arabic. … Full story


3/31/11 Update


NY Times journalists recall hostage ordeal (NBC “Today,” March 31, 2011) — Four reporters and photographers from the New York Times tell TODAY of the torment they suffered in Libya at the hands of pro-Gadhafi forces. (5:01)

Four describe being taken captive amid crossfire: ‘Do I just run and get shot?’ (John Springer,, March 31, 2011) — Standing feet away and pointing guns at them was a heavily armed ragtag militia loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi, which stopped the journalists and yanked them and their Libyan driver out of their vehicle as they neared the eastern gate of Ajdabiya, a 12-hour drive east of Tripoli. Behind them were rapidly advancing rebels trying to bring down Gadhafi’s regime one village at a time. … Full story


2/17/12 Update

At Work in Syria, Times Correspondent Dies

Anthony Shadid, center, with residents of Cairo in February 2011. (Photo credit: Ed Ou for The New York Times)

By Rick Gladstone

February 16, 2012


Anthony Shadid, a gifted foreign correspondent whose graceful dispatches for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and The Associated Press covered nearly two decades of Middle East conflict and turmoil, died, apparently of an asthma attack, on Thursday while on a reporting assignment in Syria. Tyler Hicks, a Times photographer who was with Mr. Shadid, carried his body across the border to Turkey.

Mr. Shadid, 43, had been reporting inside Syria for a week, gathering information on the Free Syrian Army and other armed elements of the resistance to the government of President Bashar al-Assad, whose military forces have been engaged in a harsh repression of the political opposition in a conflict that is now nearly a year old. …

The exact circumstances of Mr. Shadid’s death and his precise location inside Syria when it happened were not immediately clear.

But Mr. Hicks said that Mr. Shadid, who had asthma and had carried medication with him, began to show symptoms as both of them were preparing to leave Syria on Thursday, and the symptoms escalated into what became a fatal attack. Mr. Hicks telephoned his editors at The Times, and a few hours later he was able to take Mr. Shadid’s body into Turkey.

Jill Abramson, the executive editor, informed the newspaper’s staff Thursday evening in an e-mail. “Anthony died as he lived — determined to bear witness to the transformation sweeping the Middle East and to testify to the suffering of people caught between government oppression and opposition forces,” she wrote. …

Mr. Hicks said he administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation for 30 minutes but was unable to revive Mr. Shadid.

The death of Mr. Shadid, an American of Lebanese descent who had a wife and two children, abruptly ended one of the most storied careers in modern American journalism. Fluent in Arabic, with a gifted eye for detail and contextual writing, Mr. Shadid captured dimensions of life in the Middle East that many others failed to see. Those talents won him a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2004 for his coverage of the American invasion of Iraq and the occupation that followed, and a second Pulitzer in 2010, also for his Iraq reporting, both of them for The Washington Post. He also was a finalist in 2007 for his coverage of Lebanon, and has been nominated by The Times for his coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings that have transfixed the Middle East for the past year. …

Mr. Shadid, Mr. Hicks and two other Times journalists, Stephen Farrell and Lynsey Addario, were arrested by pro-government militias during the conflict in Libya last year and held for more than a week, during which all were physically abused. Their driver, Mohammad Shaglouf, died. …

He spoke of the risks he took while reporting in an interview in December with Terry Gross on the NPR program “Fresh Air.”  “I did feel that Syria was so important, and that story wouldn’t be told otherwise, that it was worth taking risks for,” he said of an earlier trip to Syria in which he entered the country from Lebanon on a motorcycle across a rugged stretch of land. …

His final article for The Times, which ran on Feb. 9, was a behind-the-scenes look at the tumultuous situation in Libya, where rival militias had replaced the government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. …

Read the full story at the New York Times


Related reports on this site

Ibrahim Dabbashi
Libya descends into chaos (Huffington Post, Feb. 21, 2011)

Libyan Rebels Advance on Tripoli (March 5, 2011)

Gadhafi Steers Libya to Civil War (Feb. 22, 2011)

Deadly Crackdown in Libya (Feb. 20, 2011)


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — March 16, 2010

Iraq-Afghanistan Casualties

One year ago today, I provided my weekly report of U.S. military deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Army Pfc. Erin L. McLyman, 26, Federal Way, Wash., died March 13, 2010 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked her base with mortar fire. She was assigned to the 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Joint Base Lews-McChord, Wash.

After graduating from Sheldon High School in Eugene, where she was a member of a dance team, McLyman enlisted in the Air Force. She later re-enlisted with the Oregon National Guard and returned to active duty with the Army. She is survived by her husband, Brian Williams; her parents, Robert and Flora McLyman; two sisters; and a grandmother.


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — March 16, 2009

Afghanistan/Iraq Update

Image: Damaged vehicle
An Afghan police officer surveys the damage after an explosion on the outskirts of Kabul on Sunday, March 14, 2009. (Photo credit: Rafiq Maqbool / AP)

Two years ago today, on March 16, 2009, I reported that a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan killed four NATO troops, while bombings and clashes elsewhere in the country killed 14 more people; that a suicide bomber in police uniform detonated inside a police headquarters in southern Afghanistan, killing 11 people and wounding 29; that Iraq’s prime minister Nouri al-Maliki said any U.S. withdrawals “must be done with our approval” and in coordination with the Iraqi government; that the U.S. military confirmed that U.S. forces had shot down an unmanned Iranian aircraft in Iraqi airspace; and that 4,259 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war.

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