Reporters on the Job

Back Into Gaza? The release of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was held hostage in Gaza for 114 days, won't necessarily make the Palestinian territory a safer place for journalists. Mr. Johnston was the last Western journalist still living in Gaza at the time of his kidnapping.

Hamas trumpeted Johnston's release as an example of its ability to restore stability and security to the Gaza Strip (see story). But correspondent Josuha Mitnick isn't sure that Western journalists will be spending a lot of time there, despite the assurances. "Under certain circumstances, I would be reasonably comfortable going in to report in Gaza. But the risks are still there," he says. He notes that the Foreign Press Association in Israel urged all members on June 20 to "exercise extreme caution" in light of information that one of the members of the Gaza clan involved in previous kidnappings had been killed. The association said that raised the possibility of reprisals against foreigners in Gaza.

Josh notes that day trips to Gaza might be OK, but he'd be less inclined to stay overnight. "Gaza is a small place. There's only one entrance for journalists – the Erez crossing – so there's a risk of being followed from there. It's hard for a foreigner to keep a low profile."

– David Clark Scott
World editor

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