Monday, April 02, 2007

Alan Johnston

The International Media Council's award winning journalist, Gaza based Mr Sami Abdel Shafi, is a personal friend of the BBC’s Alan Johnston. This statement was planned to be put out only in Arabic but Sami has translated it to English and managed to get it into the press release, held yesterday at 2:00 PM in Gaza, so that the West is aware of Gaza journalists' position in this regard. He asks us to circulate it. This is an edited text:

We, hereby, strongly denounce all acts of kidnapping and aggression against foreigners and journalists especially the recent crimes of opening gunfire at the car carrying UNRWA’s Regional Chief of Operations, Mr. John Ging, in northern Gaza, and the continuation of the kidnapping of the BBC’s journalist, Mr. Alan Johnston, who remains held for 20 days, to date.

With the temporary silencing of one of the last voices of honesty, fairness and objectivity in reporting the truth, the kidnapping of Mr. Johnston, together with other crimes, compromises the moral credit of the Palestinian cause and diminishes its standing internationally and in the eyes of supporters worldwide.

We are greatly distressed over this and all other crimes which do not represent the true nature of our people’s history, respect and keen appreciation of others, especially towards highly respected people as Mr. Johnston and Mr. Ging. In this respect, we question what seems to be the silence of Palestinian official and governmental institutions with respect to issuing orders to all concerned in security organizations to secure Mr. Johnston’s release and safe return. We demand the creation of a full security plan to halt all acts of aggression in society and on public and private property and people.

We call on President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyah, the Minister of Interior and all heads of security organizations in the Palestinian National Authority (Officials) to urgently intervene for Mr. Johnston’s immediate release and safe return.

No comments: