New York, November 10,
2008--Two days after the release of CBC
journalist Mellissa Fung, contradictory details have begun to emerge about her
captivity, according to the Toronto
Globe and Mail. Fung was kidnapped 28
days ago while conducting interviews in a Kabul
refugee camp. She was apparently held, chained and blindfolded, in Wardak, the
province west of Kabul,
according to many media reports.
The Globe and Mail reported
that a Taliban spokesman denied that their group had held her, while other
sources told the paper that she had been passed between at least two Taliban
news conference in Toronto
on Sunday, John Cruickshank, publisher of CBC News, said that Fung's
translator, identified only as Shakoor, and their driver--Shakoor's brother--were
still being held by Afghan authorities. They reportedly suspect the men were
involved in the abduction. "We are concerned about him," Cruickshank said of
Shakor, a long-time worker with the CBC office in Kabul. "That's one of our next tasks."
day before Fung's release, another foreign female journalist--Dutch national
Joanie de Rijke--was freed a week after being kidnapped. De Rijke was
kidnapped near Kabul,
while working on a story about 10 French soldiers apparently killed in a
Taliban ambush in August for Belgian magazine P. Both cases were not covered under a
near-total news blackout, and it is still not fully clear who the reporters'
glad that Mellissa Fung and Joanie de Rijke are free. Obviously, this is a
complex situation. The more we learn about it the easier it will be for journalists
to assess the risks of operating in Afghanistan,"
said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program
coordinator. "We share with our CBC colleagues their concerns for Shakoor and Fung's
driver and join with CBC in asking for public clarification for any charges
pending against them."
executives said they would make details of Fung's kidnapping available as the
situation became clearer. Cruickshank justified the news blackout to reporters
in Toronto on
Sunday: "In my view, when we know that public scrutiny can imperil the safety
of innocent victims of a crime such as this, our choice is unavoidable," he
said. "We must put the safety of the victim ahead of our instinct for full
transparency and disclosure."
Editor's note: The original version of this alert has been changed to correct Mellissa Fung's first name.