Mellissa Fung free

[video:youtube:goSQuxkfKwU] Mellissa Fung, a 35 year old journalist with CBC, who was kidnapped in Kabul four weeks ago was released today. She says she was kept in a cave for the first three weeks,

“They kept me blindfolded, but not the whole time,” she said. “They chained me. . . . Just my hands and legs for the first three weeks.” “Finally last night around 8:30 p.m. local we . . . successfully raided a house and rescued Ms. Mellisa Fung who works for CBC of Canada. The raid was conducted in one of the villages of Maidan Wardak province,” Intelligence Agency spokesman, Saeed Ansari, said Sunday. link

According to my sources, the kidnap had been reported in the Afghan press on the day it happened. However, western news outlets held a meeting in Kabul and agreed to a news blackout. The thought being the less publicity the safer it would be for Fung,

[John Cruickshank, publisher of CBC news] said CBC had asked other news outlets to refrain from publishing news of her abduction based on the advice of security experts. “I can say however say that it’s unlikely that I’d be briefing you today with this delightful news of Mellissa’s safe release if it had not been for the cooperation of news organizations around the world,” he said. link

We learned of the kidnap here at From the Frontline some four weeks ago, but also chose not to publicize it out of respect for the opinion of the people on the ground. However, this does bring to the surface the question about which kidnaps are reported and which are not.
The kidnap of Mellissa Fung and, earlier this year, of Frontline Club regular and Channel 4 Dispatches reporter Sean Langan were both hushed up. Both reporters are on the staff of large media outlets. Maybe it’s just perception, but aid workers and freelance journalists like Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan who were kidnapped in Somalia over 2 months ago, appear to get reported almost immediately. Is there one rule for staff at major media organisations and one for freelancers and aid workers?

3 comments

  1. Maybe there are different rules for different theaters and situations?

    From what I remember from Mogadishu in the 1990’s, also kidnapped colleagues from major news outlets made the headlines immediately. Not too familiar with Somalia these days, but can imagine that the situation – e.g. is there some kind of authority, who’s holding power etc. – can make a difference.

  2. Hi. Great news to see a journalist is survived.
    My admirations for Fung and her courage to report from Afghanistan.
    I appreciate the solidarity of news agencies for respecting the safety of their colleague and not publishing the news about her abduction, I do hope they follows this also with Afghan (or national) journalists around the world. I am saying this by remembering about Ajmal Naqshbandi’s case…

    Orzala.

  3. My best friend is currently being held for ransom in Mogadishu, she is a Japanese doctor with mdm and was abducted with her colleague 8 weeks ago. My first instinct was to contact as many media outlets as possible, but after thinking a little I realise that publicity only aids the kidnappers.
    I’ve been tracking the case of Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan, they were abducted about a month earlier. I fear for them, they are both journalists and so I guess their colleagues think they are doing what is best. But it seems to me some of the reports are goading the kidnappers, calling the kidnappers
    I think the journalist colleagues should think a little more deeply, if they were being held for ransom is this the kind of reporting they would wish?
    I hope they will be free soon.
    “These guys are a little gang. The bills are piling up. It costs a lot of money to keep Western hostages,” he said from Paris. “The kidnappers are getting nervous or impatient in finding a settlement. We believe, and always have believed, that the two foreigners are their shield. It’s just a way of drawing attention and spreading fear (for them).”These guys are a little gang. The bills are piling up. It costs a lot of money to keep Western hostages,” he said from Paris. “The kidnappers are getting nervous or impatient in finding a settlement. We believe, and always have believed, that the two foreigners are their shield. It’s just a way of drawing attention and spreading fear (for them).”

    I’m not a journalist not have I any experience of kidnap but it seems to me that comments like this by Amanda and Nigel’s colleagues do not help and may put the lives of Amanda and Nigel at risk or the lives of the Somali people who were taken with them

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