JULY 4, another date that I hope will  stay fresh in the minds of journalists around the world for a very long time. Many had doubts Alan Johnston’s release from his Hell-hole in captivity in Gaza would come anytime soon. It’s happened and it is time for rejoicing but we should not forget those who have played their part behind the scenes quietly working towards the day the talented BBC journalist would once again be free to report.

The identities of those “movers and shakers” will be the subject of much speculation – some may never be known –  but in my view a special tribute has to be paid to Hammas, the group that now controls Gaza. From all the early evidence coming out of the Middle East following Alan’s journey to freedom, it is clear that it was pressure put on the terrorists by the Hammas leaders that means Alan Johnston is now a free man. Alan  has been in our prayers since he was snatched and we members of the Chartered Institute of Journalists wish him well and are certain he will soon be back doing what he’s good at – factual reporting.

John Thorpe, MBE, President CIoJ.
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