Mirror and Express are only two Fleet Street titles not to name British journalist held by IS

The Daily Mirror and Daily Express are the only two national newspapers not to have identified British journalist John Cantlie who is being held hostage by the Islamic State.

Press Gazette understands the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued initial guidance asking editors not to report the story when a video emerged on Youtube yesterday showing Cantlie reading a statement. This was while it established the facts behind the video and consulted with Cantlie's family and it has not yet issued any further guidance.

According to Mirror editor-in-chief Lloyd Embley, Cantlie's family made an "impassioned plea" for him not to be identified.

Initially, the national press did not name him, with Reuters and The Guardian among the first to do so.

Mail Online, among others, said it had chosen not to name the hostage or use photographs of him.

But the website has identified him this morning, as do all other publications – aside from the Mirror and the Express.

Embley tweeted shortly after the emergence of the video that “As things stand, Mirror will not be naming latest Brit in ISIS video following impassioned plea by family”.

As it emerged that the majority of other news publications were naming Cantlie, including Press Association, Embley said: “Maybe it's pointless but we are still abiding by family wishes and not naming or picturing (without pixelation) the latest Brit hostage.”

Richard Spencer, the Telegraph's Middle East correspondent, described Cantlie as a "brave photographer and writer".

He said: "He worked freelance, offering his services to major British newspapers, including The Sunday Telegraph, for whom he recorded an attack by Assad regime tanks on the rebel-held town of Saraqeb in March 2012.

"He had been smuggled into the town by rebels of the Free Syrian Army, before the rise of the jihadis who eventually took control of parts of the country, and watched as it was retaken by the army. It was accompanied by a dramatic picture looking down the barrel of a Russian-built T72 tank.

"It was not far from Saraqeb, outside the town of Binnish, that he was seized in November 2012, when the car he and James Foley were travelling in back to the Syrian border was stopped.

"For a while, friends investigating his disappearance believed he had been killed. That fear was lifted after fellow hostages were released earlier this year."

Most broadcasters and news websites have also named Cantlie.

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