Sunday, June 17, 2007

Help to Free Kidnapped BBC Reporter Alan Johnston

This post is a bit unusual for this blog because it's not about music or a podcast, but about something more important... in fact, the subject is a matter of life and death.

Alan Johnston is a BBC reporter from Scotland whose "beat" is the Gaza strip, in Palestinian territory. Johnston is the only full-time reporter in Gaza, or rather he was, until he was kidnapped more than three months ago. A shadowy group has said it is holding him, demanding the release of a number of prisoners (including at least one held in Britain) as conditions for Johnston's safe return.

This actually does have something to do with podcasting, because Johnston is one of the reporters whose voice I've heard on one of my favorite news podcasts, the BBC's "From Our Own Correspondent." His voice has been absent for the last few months, and a valuable source of information on events in the Middle East has been silenced.

The Hamas authorities who recently took over Gaza had promised they will try to obtain the release of Johnston. This is the most hopeful sign in this episode since the kidnappers released a video of Johnston showing that he was still alive and apparently being treated well.

You may have noticed the button in the right column with Johnston's photo. This is part of a campaign the BBC is conducting to help raise awareness of the reporter's plight and put pressure on those holding him. Click on the button (or here) and you'll find out how to put it on your own blog or Web site, to help spread the word. There's also a petition calling for Johnston's release and a place where you can add your own message of support.

The last few years have been some of the deadliest of all time for reporters working in war zones and other conflict areas. Fortunately, Alan Johnston is still alive and pressure is being brought to bear to get him released. Whether you're a follower of international news or not, I encourage you to add your efforts to help get Alan Johnston freed. Thanks!

1 comment :

ashina said...

Thanks for visiting and leaving the nicest comment I have ever recieved. This cause is very noble and if you don't mind I would like to write about it on my blog too. I am a member of mylot forum may be I can ask all members there for support too.