Monday, November 10, 2008

The price of Fung's release

Although most recent articles mention nothing about any negotiations or deal for Fung's release a recent article in a Pakistan paper suggests that there was. This is from the Pakobserver. Nothing about this in a recent Star article or the Nationalpost.
Hower in Spector's Globe Blog he notes the Pakistan article. A commentator also notes that inspite of the blackout in Canadian newsmedia, in Afghanistan the kidnapping had been reported on October 13. A portion of the comment is printed beneath the excerpt from the Pakobserver.
The commentator thinks the blackout has something to do with worries about what effects the news might have on the Canadian election. This could be. Some say that news about the kidnapping might lead to more danger for Fung but I am not really sure this would be the case. But perhaps the kidnappers prefer to negotiate without publicity. There is no sign that they tried to create publicity as some kidnappers do. Most reports indicate that the kidnappers had nothing to do with the Taliban and the Taliban have denied responsibillity I believe, so it is a bit strange that Taliban rather than some other militants were released in the bargain. We should be learning "the rest of the story"in the coming days.

2 Taliban leaders swap for Canadian journalist
Akhtar JamalIslamabad—Two Taliban leaders held in Afghanistan on charges of terrorism and murder of foreign troops have been released in exchange of a Canadian journalist kidnpapped about a month ago and was freed on Saturday. According to reports reaching here from Afghanistan Ms.Mellissa Fung, a journalist working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) in Afghanistan, was freed on Saturday only after two Taliban leaders were freed from jail and taken to the mountains West of Kabul. NATO and Afghan officials were not ready to make any comment.Ms. Fung is expected to leave Kabul Monday for home after undergoing a medical checkup. Canadian news women Fung had been working on a Special Assignment in the southern city of Kandahar before her abduction.Fung was abducted by “armed men” presumed to be supporters of Taliban at a UN refugee camp in the outskirts of Kabul on October 12 and got freedom after intense negotiations with Taliban source in Afghanistan and abroad.Afghan forces in Afghanistan initially claimed that the Candian journalist was freed as s result of an operation while other sources suspected that a “heavy ransom” was paid for her freedom. However an Afghan source Sunday confirmed that she was released only after Canadian and Afghan Governments had agreed to release the two “dangerous militants”.Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Sunday said that “hundreds of Canadian and Afghan officials had been involved in the effort to free Fung” but did not give any further details. Canadian Prime Minister also called Afghan President Hamid Karzai to thank him for his cooperation in the release of the journalist.Canadian PM also thanked media organizations for agreeing to a request from the CBC to respect a news blackout until the case had been resolved............

What gives? Would the fact that the Globe endorsed Harper have anything to do with their dutiful black out compliance?And how would a partial time delay, as you are suggesting, have served any purpose, unless of course the sole purpose was to keep Harper's "election bubble" in tact? After all, October 12, 2008 was when Harper stopped taking questions from reporters on any topic, as reported by Steve Chase in the Globe. More black out behaviour that would never be tolerated in any other western country.Here's what Afghans were told but Canadians weren't:Afghan Islamic Press Online journalist abducted in KabulKABUL (AIP): Unknown gunmen kidnapped a Canadian female journalist in Kabul yesterday (Oct. 13), sources said Monday. Informed sources told Afghan Islamic Press that the Canadian journalist was capture in Char Rahi Qanbar area, western part of Kabul City after she visited a refugee camp. Security officials are tight lipped over the incident and avoid giving any details to media. The 27-year old female Canadian journalist was working for a Canadian magazine and had also visited the cam several times in the past. There was no word by security officials and armed groups in this regard. Ends Posted @ 06:20 GMT

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