French journalist freed by the FARC insists that Colombian conflict should continue to be covered

After more than one month in captivity, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC in Spanish) released the French journalist Roméo Langlois in the middle of the jungle in the Caquetá Department to the Humanitarian Mission led by Human Rights activist Piedad Córdoba on Wednesday, May 30, the news site Telesur reported.

The FARC confirmed they were responsable for kidnapping Langlois a couple of days after the journalist had disappeared while covering an anti-drug raid between the Colombian Army troops and guerrillas on April 28.

"One must continue covering this conflict", were the journalist's first words after his release, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), who recognized the validity and importance of Langlois's message, saying that he “never ceased to behave as a journalist throughout his month-long captivity."

Langlois said that the FARC treated him more as a guest rather than as a prisoner of war, saying that “the guerrilla fighters are Colombians too" and that "they also have much to bring to the country,” Caracol radio reported. These comments and others, such as saying that the press is "selling a distorted image of the guerrilla," caused the journalist to be criticized by some, the newspaper El Heraldo said. The Colombian ex president, Álvaro Uribe, even said that Langlois was identifying himself with terrorism from the guerrilla group, according to the news site Pueblo en Línea.

Nonetheless, various journalism organizations worldwide, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP in Spanish), celebrated Langlois's release and applauded his journalistic work ethics. “We value the sacrifice that journalists make to get to the truth that goes beyond press releases," Adriana Hurtado, president of the Colombian Federation of Journalists (FECOLPER in Spanish) said.