His face, above the hashtag #FreeOlivierDubois, is now visible on the facade of the town hall at 10e arrondissement of Paris, as a daily call to continue mobilization. The banner was deployed Friday, July 16, during a new rally of support organized by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the coordination of its support to demand the release of the journalist hostage in Mali for a hundred days. “One hundred days too long”, insisted Antoine Bernard, RSF advocacy manager. In the assembly were also members of his family, colleagues from the media and local elected officials.

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The independent journalist, a regular freelance writer for several editorial offices in France, has been living in Mali for six years with his wife and two children. In early April, he went to Gao, in the north of the country, to interview a jihadist cadre. He never came back. In a video of about twenty seconds broadcast on May 5 on social networks, he himself announced that he was in the hands of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM), a local branch of Al-Qaeda.

“Without journalists like Olivier, we would not know what is happening in regions like the Sahel, where it is increasingly difficult to do one’s job”, said Pierre Haski, recalling that it is a “Risky work, but necessary work”. The president of RSF cited the recent deadly attacks on the press: the death, Thursday, July 15, of the Dutch journalist, Peter R. De Vries, shot dead in the Netherlands, and that, this Friday, of Danish Siddiqui, photographer from Reuters and 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner, killed in Afghanistan.

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Importance of mobilization

Marc de Boni, spokesperson for the support committee for Olivier Dubois, read a text sent from Bamako by Deborah Al Hawi Al Masri, the journalist’s wife. “ Our daily life has become tough, but we are holding on ”, she wrote. In another message, Olivier Dubois’ mother and sisters called on France to step up its search to find “A son, a brother, a father, but also the only French hostage detained abroad”.

The banner will remain on the facade of the town hall of 10e rounding for as long as necessary, “So that the face of Olivier Dubois is every day before our eyes, under the eyes of Parisians”, for its part, assured Alexandra Cordebard, mayor of this district.

Many recalled the importance of mobilization. News from the outside sometimes reaches captives, Pierre Haski recalled, and “Know that we haven’t forgotten them, that we support them” gives them the strength to keep hope.


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