Four New York Times (NYSE:NYT) journalists reporting on the conflict in Libya have gone missing. Editors from the newspaper said Wednesday they last had contact with the journalists on Tuesday morning New York time.
The paper has reportedly been receiving second-hand information that its reporters were snatched by Libyan government forces on the ground in the port city of Ajdabiya, though the Times’ executive editor, Bill Keller, told FOX News the company has not yet been able to confirm the reports.
Libya has become a dangerous place for journalists, as the government seeks to suppress public information about unrest following an uprising by rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi.
“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,” Keller said. “We are grateful to the Libyan government for their assurance that if our journalists were captured they would be released promptly and unharmed.”
The missing journalists are Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for foreign reporting, reporter and videographer Stephen Farrell, and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who both have worked extensively in the Middle East and Africa.
Farrell was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and was rescued by British commandos.
Keller said the journalists’ family and colleagues are seeking information about the situation.
As turmoil in the Middle East spreads, the environment for foreign journalists has become hostile. In Egypt last month reporters covering the revolt that overthrew its former dictator Hosni Mubarak were assaulted, accosted and detained, including two Times reporters who were detained and eventually released unharmed.
CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and severely beaten while covering the jubilation following Mubarak’s resignation in Tahrir Square before being rescued by a group of women and Egyptian soldiers.
The White House has said it is aware of the situation and condemns any violence against journalists.