mercredi 4 avril 2007

Growing concern over Alan Johnston’s detention

21 days after Alan Johnston, BBC correspondent in the Gaza Strip, was kidnapped, an international media appeal is slowly rising.

On Monday 12th March, Alan Johnston has reportedly been snatched by four armed men on his way home. Before being the BBC correspondent in the Gaza Strip for three years, he had worked in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Still no statement from any kidnapper nor any talk of ransom have been made.
A vigorous campaign has started around the world for the immediate release of the journalist. Around 700 Palestinian media workers went on strike on Monday 2nd April, three weeks after the journalist was kidnapped in Gaza. They were symbolically gagged when they demonstrated in front of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh.
In a press release published on the same day, Reporter without borders shared its “great concern” over the detention. “We are addressing M. Abbas [President of the Palestinian national authority] and M. Haniyeh so that they start having firmer talks with the kidnappers so Alan Johnston could be freed,” the organisation said.
The International Federation of Journalists wrote the Palestinian Prime Minister “asking him to step up efforts to find and liberate the reporter.” The organisation is afraid that this action “damages the Palestinian cause and puts press freedom under intolerable pressure.”
Fourteen foreign journalists have been kidnapped in this region of Palestine since April 2005. Many media workers have stayed away from the Gaza Strip since the recent clashes between Hamas and Fatah supporters. Alan Johnston, 44, is the longest detained journalist there.

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