The ONLY active voice for American Arab Journalists.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

NAAJA Condemns kidnapping of Fox journalists, Urges immediate release

NAAJA condemns kidnapping of FOX News journalists
Urges kidnappers to release hostages immediately

Chicago August 23, 2006 -- The National Arab American Journalists Association today denounced the kidnapping of two reporters who disappeared last week in the Gaza Strip.

A group calling itself the "Holy Jihad Brigades" released a video of two Fox News Channel journalists it said it kidnapped in the Gaza Strip last week and demanded the release of Muslim prisoners held by the United States within 72 hours in exchange for the journalists, an American and a New Zealander.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the group did not say what would happen if its demands were not met.

Correspondent Steve Centanni, 60, and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig, 36, appeared in good health in the video, which was obtained by the Gaza-based news service Ramattan. They were kidnapped August 14 in the center of Gaza City. Until today's video there had been no word from the journalists or indication of who was behind the abduction, in contrast to previous journalist kidnappings in Gaza.

NAAJA urges that the kidnappers release FOX News correspondent Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wigg immediately.

We demand that the kidnappers respect the human rights of these individuals and insure their safety.

NAAJA calls on the kidnappers to seek non-violent means to address their grievances and to respect the importance of allowing journalists the freedom to pursue their stories.

While many members of NAAJA believe that the mainstream American news media is biased and discriminates against Arab Americans and fails to present both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we do not believe that this bias is an excuse for any form of criminal activity.

The kidnapping of the two journalists is a criminal act.


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