From Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a reminder of the anniversary of the abduction of Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan in Somalia.
“We are very worried about these two hostages, given the length of their ordeal and the extreme dangers prevailing in Somalia.” Reporters Without Borders said. “We reiterate our support for their families and we hope they will be released without delay.”
“Two French security advisers posing as journalists were abducted from their hotel in Mogadishu on Tuesday by Somali gunmen, according to the foreign ministry and reports from the chaotic Somali capital,” reports the Washington Post. Full story at this link…
Journalist Rob Crilly has been based in Kenya for five years and he’s decided it’s time for a change. In this post he takes an honest look at his work: has he started to run out of ideas?
“Every year there are warnings of famine in Ethiopia. Every two years there is drought in north-eastern Kenya. And Somalia is on a constant slide into the abyss. Eventually the wide-eyed reporter becomes tired and jaded. (I had always been cynical, but that’s a different story.) It’s a gradual process that takes place unnoticed over years.”
Karen Phillips reports on the latest research from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): ‘Journalists in Exile 2009’.
“Sri Lankan journalists flee under severe pressure in the past year. Iraq and Somalia, two deadly countries for the press, also rank high in numbers of journalists forced into exile. Hundreds of journalists have been driven into exile this decade.”
“Nearly 400 journalists have been forced into exile worldwide since 2001, when CPJ began compiling detailed data. Illustrating the extraordinary dangers facing these journalists at home, more than 330 of them remain in exile today.”
It’s a case about which we know very little information. The Frontline Blog reports on what appears to be the latest communication with the journalists held in Somalia since August 2008: Canadian freelance Amanda Lindhout and Australian freelance Nigel Brennan. It is reported that Lindhout called the CTV national newsroom this week, stating that she is ‘kept in a dark, windowless room in chains without any clean drinking water and little food or no food. I’ve been very sick for months without any medicine.’
“The AFP says one of their Mogadishu based reporters spoke with the two kidnap victims, Amanda Lindhout and Nigel Brennan, in Somalia for five minutes on Sunday. Lindhout in particular sounds to be in a very poor way, if this reported phone call is to be believed (…) This is the first reported communication with the duo since they were kidnapped near Mogadishu in August 2008,” reports the Frontline Blog.
“We’ve all watched the cutting of foreign news budgets for so long that we’ve become almost numb to it,” comments Andrew Stroehlein, communications director for the International Crisis Group, on the Reuters AlertNet blog.
“Another bureau cut here, another three correspondent posts dropped there – drip, drip, drip – the dwindling capacity of overseas news gathering is constant background noise. Or ever-increasing silence, perhaps.
“But now we’ve come to two situations that show us what the world will be like when there are no foreign correspondents left,” Strohlein says – pointing to Somalia and Sri Lanka as examples.
From the Frontline website: “Colin Freeman, who was kidnapped in Somalia in November 2008 and held for six weeks, is at the club tonight to discuss his experience and the future for the ‘failed state’ in the Horn of Africa. He’s joined by Mary Harper, a BBC Africa correspondent and Mike Thomson, chief foreign correspondent for the BBC Today programme.”
“Six months ago today [Sunday 22 February] the first reports came in of the kidnap of Canadian freelance journalist Amanda Lindhout, freelance photographer Nigel Brennan and their fixers and driver. The team were reportedly abducted just outside Mogadishu. The fixer and driver were subsequently released, but Lindhout and Brennan remain hostage,” he writes.