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Blog   |   France, Mali, Security

In Mali, a war 'without images and without facts'

Soldiers with the Malian army speak to journalists. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

The French army is often called la Grande Muette, or "the Great Silent." The war in Mali confirms the French military's well-deserved reputation of being secretive about front-line actions. "Locking the information is more in the culture of the French army than of the U.S. army," says Maurice Botbol, director of La Lettre du Continent. In the first two weeks of military operations against Islamist militant groups in Mali, the French army has released only a blurry video of an air attack at an undisclosed location.

Blog   |   France, Syria

Jacquier's killing raises chilling questions on Syria

Syrians hold a candlelight vigil as the body of French tv reporter Gilles Jacquier is taken out of a hospital in Homs to be transported to Damascus early on Thursday. (AFP/Joseph Eid)

The killing on January 11 of a French TV reporter has sent a chill through the international press corps trying to cover the violence in Syria. Gilles Jacquier, 43, who was on assignment for the French public service channel France 2, was a seasoned journalist and the laureate of France's most prestigious journalism prizes. As a special reporter for "Envoyé special," France's equivalent of "60 Minutes," he had covered dozens of wars, from Kosovo to Afghanistan, and was considered one of the most professional French war correspondents.

January 13, 2012 6:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   France

Cautious optimism for French reporters held in Afghanistan

A poster in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris shows French hostages Stephane Taponier (left) and Herve Ghesquiere. (Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

On December 29, 2009, Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière, two seasoned reporters with the French public service TV channel France 3, and their three Afghan assistants, were taken hostage in Afghanistan. One year later, a sense of cautious optimism seems to prevail in Paris. On December 20, French authorities announced that they had received a video showing the hostages "in good health" although "they appear weakened by the detention." According to Paul Nahon, director of France 3, the video--which was not publicly broadcast--was shot "around November 20."

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