Freed journalists: Don't be discouraged by our Palestine hostage ordeal

The two journalists freed on Sunday by captors in Palestine have urged news organisations to hold their nerve in sending staff to report from the region.

American Steve Centanni and New Zealander Olaf Wiig of Fox News had been held by a previously unknown group called the Holy Jihad Brigades for almost two weeks, but were released unharmed after being forced to say on video that they had converted to Islam.

At a press conference in Gaza following their release, Wiig said: “My biggest concern, really, is that as a result of what happened to us, foreign journalists would be discouraged from coming here to tell the story, and that would be a great tragedy to the people of Palestine and of Gaza in particular.

“I hope that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story, because the Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind-hearted,” Centanni said. “The world needs to know more about them. Don’t be discouraged.”

The BBC’s head of world news, Jon Williams, told Press Gazette that the corporation would not change its approach to covering Gaza as a result of the kidnappings.

He said: “We have a permanent presence in Gaza. Alan Johnson is the correspondent there, and we have a bureau that is co-sited with the Arab service. While we keep security at all our bureaux under constant review, we have no plans to change anything at the moment.”

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