ASNE supports release of Paul Salopek

To Whom It May Concern:

Paul Salopek is known in the United States and throughout the world as a superb journalist and a person of the utmost integrity.

The American Society of Newspaper Editors is astonished and deeply distressed that Paul is being held on serious charges in Sudan, where he was tirelessly doing his job – witnessing an important story so he could share it with readers. It is our hope that the government will quickly recognize Paul's innocence and allow him to return home.

Paul's history of great reporting and storytelling has been honored repeatedly in this country, most notably by earning two Pulitzer Prizes while reporting for the Chicago Tribune. More importantly, legions of colleagues and editors admire his skill, tenacity and courage. He is a professional journalist, independent of any government connection or influence.

On his current assignment for National Geographic his only goal was to tell the compelling story of the people of the Sahel region of Africa.

ASNE, the largest professional association of directing editors of newspapers in the Americas, believes deeply that the ability of the press to operate freely is essential to the growth of global understanding. We hope Paul Salopek will soon be released so he may be able to resume his important and exceptional work.

We are grateful for your consideration of our plea in Paul's behalf.


David A. Zeeck