Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The absence of Alan Johnston

The kidnap of BBC reporter Alan Johnston three months ago, has had an appreciable effect on the BBC's coverage of the developing chaos in the Gaza Strip, which has been building for several days. The BBC started reporting the crisis in detail last night, at least twenty-four hours after most of the events they were describing had happened. There has been a wave of appalling tit-for-tat killings. A commentator on the BBC's excellent World Tonight radio news last night (what a contrast in the amount of information you get compared to the simultaneous television news, where it's always "Back to you Huw") did not believe that this was the beginning of a civil war, but it looks like Fateh will withdraw from the "Unity" government and I fear revenge will take on a momentum of its own, despite the fact that most residents of the Gaza Strip deplore what is going on.

The fighting is fierce enough to prevent the journalists who are still there venturing out into the Gaza Strip but it is hard to believe that, had Mr Johnston not been abducted, the British public would have known rather sooner of the violence that is now drowning the Palestinian state.

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