The IFJ today joined with journalists around the word in welcoming the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston from his four months captivity in Gaza.
“Today will be a great moment of joy for journalists and media workers who have seen a peaceful end to this terrible ordeal,” said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. “We send our best wishes to Alan, his family and his colleagues.”
IFJ affiliates in all parts of the world have campaigned vigorously for Johnston’s release and their action was acknowledged by Johnston soon after he was set free.
“Journalist unions have shown unprecedented solidarity and we are joyful that the campaign has succeeded,” said Boumelha.
The IFJ says that the world wide campaign to secure Alan’s release was symbolic of the fight to free all journalists kidnapped and held hostage
“Palestinian journalists are delighted by the news of Alan’s release,” leader of Palestinian Journalists Syndicate Naim Toubassi said. “We have sent a strong message that kidnapping journalists is an evil practice that must be ended. We salute all those who have joined us in demanding that Alan be set free.”
“We congratulate our colleagues at the BBC, at the National Union of Journalists of Great Britain and Ireland and the Palestine Journalists Syndicate who led the campaign for Alan’s release in Gaza” said Boumelha. “Their campaign has been magnificent. Now we must focus on freeing all journalists who have been kidnapped and we must make sure this never happens again.”
According to statistics compiled by the International News Safety Institute, at least 82 journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq. Of those, 28 have been killed and six are still being held. Forty-seven journalists have been freed and the condition of one is unknown. Worldwide at least 29 journalists have been held by kidnappers.
“All these cases must now be followed-up and given top priority” said Jim Boumelha. “Alan’s release must inspire the international community to take fresh action to end all kidnappings and hostage taking of media staff.”
For further information contact the IFJ: +32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in more than 115 countries