Palestinian Authority - Rally in London in support of BBC correspondent as he begins second month in captivity in Gaza



    MONTREAL, April 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today
organised a rally in central London in support of kidnapped BBC correspondent
Alan Johnston, at which a large photo of Johnston was unveiled in Trafalgar
Square in the presence of his parents, Graham and Margaret Johnston. The
reporter was abducted in the Gaza Strip on 12 March.
    "Exactly a month has gone by without any news of Johnston," the press
freedom organisation said. "It is unacceptable that a journalist should be
used as a bargaining chip in an abduction, which in this case appears to have
been carried out for non-political reasons. What are the authorities waiting
for to obtain his release? We call on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and
Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh to redouble their efforts."
    A large photo of the British journalist was hung in Trafalgar Square
today as he began his second month in captivity. The BBC also held a news
conference at the headquarters of the Foreign Press Association. His parents
and representatives of the Muslim community in Britain gathered to jointly
demand his release.
    The Union of Palestinian Journalists also organised a rally in Gaza City
today to press demands for the government to make a bigger effort to obtain
Johnston's release.
    The BBC correspondent in the Palestinian Territories since 2004, Johnston
was abducted as he was driving home from his Gaza City office. He is the 14th
victim in a series of kidnappings of foreign journalists of different
nationalities since 2005. However, he has been held much longer than the
others and this raises serious questions about the safety of journalists in
the Gaza Strip, where armed groups and powerful families continue to operate
freely outside the law.

    Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press
freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has
representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has
more than 120 correspondents worldwide.




For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Canadian office representative,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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