|AS TIME GOES BY. DON'T FORGET ALAN JOHNSTON.
15 June 2007
Last month on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, a number of senior diplomats, journalists, and
U.N. officials assembled to demand the release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston who had been abducted in Gaza last
The greatest risk in such kidnappings is the passage of time. The case becomes less urgent; there are other pressing
issues. But the most dangerous likelihood remains with those hotheaded or greedy militants miscalculating,
or -- worse -- holding him in a point of expanding clashes. With increasing tension in the world's tiniest flashpoint,
every minute carries a serious risk.
That is why we renew our ardent support for the immediate unconditional release of the BBC correspondent who was
performing an outstanding job. We repeat that if the real concern of his kidnappers was the Palestinian cause, their
action misfired. Alan Johnston was one of the very few credible media links for Gaza with the outside world. Holding
him did not only deprive the Palestinian people of better international understanding but it solicited adverse
reaction by millions who felt that Johnston was the wrong target.
The more time passes, the more the risk of a miscalculation, the more danger to the detained life. It is
therefore crucial to keep the pressure on and insist on the immediate release of Alan Johnston; not only for his
own life, his family, the BBC and free press. But also for the cause of the Palestinian people.
As time goes by, we feel we have to reiterate the world-wide appeal: Free Alan Johnston Now.