Middle East - Palestinian Authority - Call for immediate, massive response after second kidnapping of journalist in Gaza since start of year

    MONTREAL, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders voiced
concern today after British journalist Alan Johnston, who has been the BBC's
correspondent in Gaza for more than three years, was kidnapped by gunmen near
his office this afternoon as he was returning from the Erez Crossing between
the Gaza Strip and Israel.
    "We call for the immediate release of this journalist, who has lived and
worked in the Palestinian territories for years," the press freedom
organisation said. "We urge both President Mahmud Abbas and Prime Minister
Ismael Haniyeh to react at once to speed up his release. A response from all
of us is essential."
    Reporters Without Borders added: "The grim series of abductions of
foreign journalists continues in the Gaza Strip without the authorities so far
finding a way to bring it to an end. None of the people responsible for
kidnapping journalists since 2005 has been arrested or tried. This impunity
encourages potential hostage-takers to act."
    The Palestinian security services said four gunmen abducted Johnston, who
had time to leave his business card in the rental car he was using.
    Just over three months separate this abduction and that of Peruvian
photographer Jaime Razuri of Agence France-Presse, kidnapped on 1 January and
freed a week later. A total of 14 foreign journalists have been kidnapped in
the Gaza Strip since 2005. Most of them were freed quickly without being hurt.
Two journalists with the US television network Fox News were held the longest
- two weeks.

    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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