A dangerous profession 

5 July 2007 tbs.pm/116


Following on from the very welcome news that the BBC reporter Alan Johnston has been released, I think this would be a good time to reflect on the dangerous profession that proper journalism can be.

In particular, let us be aware that numerous media personnel have been held in captivity for months, or even years; many of whom aren’t fortunate enough to have the support of a campaigning machine with global reach. The BBC was doing no less than anyone connected with the case would have expected, and it is to its credit that it pulled out all the stops to keep the pressure on. I’ve often thought that the French or Israeli foreign ministries tend not to pull punches when the fate of one of their own nationals hangs in the balance; similarly, relying on the principle that things happen when you apply a little pressure, the BBC used its own access to the airwaves to do what it could to this end.

Let us not forget, though, that very often, those campaigning on behalf of kidnap victims find it an uphill battle to generate publicity on their behalf. Still, I suspect that any parent whose son or daughter found itself in Mr Johnston’s position would be on the phone daily ensuring that everything possible was being done.

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