Update- IFJ, Member Unions Press for Safe Return of BBC Correspondent Missing in Gaza

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today renewed its call for the safe return of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who has been reported missing since Monday.

Masked Palestinian gunmen reportedly kidnapped the journalist from his car in Gaza City on Monday. However the BBC said it has not been able to independently verify those reports.

“We urge anyone who knows where Alan Johnston is to ensure his safety,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “If he is being held, we are calling on his captors to release him immediately and unconditionally.”

The National Union of Journalists for UK and Ireland and the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, both affiliated to the IFJ, have also called for Johnston’s immediate and safe return.

The IFJ has pressed for Palestinian extremists to end their use of intimidation and terror tactics against media in the region. There have been a string of recent kidnappings of journalists by such groups.

In January extremists kidnapped a Peruvian photographer working for Agence France-Presse in Gaza and held him for a week. In October, an AP
photographer was abducted by Palestinian gunmen and freed later that same day. In August, two Fox News journalists were kidnapped and held for two weeks before being released.

“Holding media workers hostage is a frightening and intolerable form of intimidation that threaten press freedom and the lives of innocent civilians,” White said.

For more information contact the IFJ at 32 2 235 2200
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide