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UN EXPERT ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF BBC REPORTER ALAN JOHNSTON


Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression of the United Nations Human Rights Council, issued the following statement today:

The prolonged abduction of British journalist Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped in Gaza City on 12 March, is a worrying reminder of the precarious work conditions of journalists in conflict areas. I reiterate that the safety of journalists is an indispensable condition for the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression, especially the right to impart and seek information. The role of the media in publicly denouncing violence and conflict is essential in promoting human rights worldwide.

Mr. Johnston, who works for the British Broadcasting Corporation, is a distinguished journalist, much appreciated for his objective reporting and his sympathetic approach to human suffering. I call for his immediate and peaceful release so that he can return to his family and colleagues without going through any additional suffering.