Australian journalist reported safe

New York, July 1, 2004—Australian journalist Carmela Baranowska, who was reported missing yesterday in southern Afghanistan, made contact with her employer, SBS Television, by satellite telephone today, according to international news reports.

Following the call, SBS issued a statement saying “we are reassured as to her well-being and to the fact that she is not being held as a hostage.”

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs told Radio Australia that Baranowska had also told peacekeepers in Afghanistan that she was safe.

Fears that Baranowska had been kidnapped were sparked yesterday when a spokesman for local Taliban guerillas said that they had captured a foreign woman and an Afghan man. Baranowska had not been heard from since she left the southern city of Kandahar on Monday morning, along with her Afghan assistant and their driver. Another Taliban spokesman said that Baranowska was not being held, according to Reuters.

For more information about Carmela Baranowska, see yesterday’s CPJ alert.