Four New York Times journalists missing in Libya

NEW YORK Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:25pm EDT

1 of 5. Combination photo shows the four missing journalists covering the fighting in Libya for the New York Times from handout photos released to Reuters on March 16, 2011. The newspaper said the four journalists are missing in a statement on March 16, 2011. From L-R: Photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Shadid.

Credit: Reuters/The New York Times/Handout

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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, were last in contact with their editors Tuesday morning from the town of Ajdabiya.

Also missing were Stephen Farrell -- 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.

He said the Libyan government had assured the Times that if the journalists have been captured, they would be released promptly and unharmed.

A Brazilian reporter was freed by government forces in Libya last week, but 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.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, in power since a military coup in 1969, lost control of large swathes of Libya in a revolt last month, but since then his security forces have fought back. The Libyan uprising follows popular uprisings that ousted the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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