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Posts Tagged ‘Asadullah Mangal’

Must Read: Rohde Recounts Seven Months In Captivity

rohde.jpgFour months after heroically escaping from his Taliban kidnappers, New York Times reporter David Rohde has decided to tell the story of his seven months in captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Rohde’s five-part series, “Held by the Taliban,” debuted yesterday and will continue all week. His recollection of his kidnapping is frightening and moving — a reminder of the dangers reporters in war torn territories face every day. With each word, you have to remind yourself that Rohde managed to survive, otherwise it would be too difficult to read.

“Over those months, I came to a simple realization. After seven years of reporting in the region, I did not fully understand how extreme many of the Taliban had become,” Rodhe writes. “They wanted to create a fundamentalist Islamic emirate with Al Qaeda that spanned the Muslim world.”

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NYT Public Editor Tackles Decision To Keep Rohde Kidnapping Quiet

times.pngYesterday, New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt discussed Times reporter David Rohde‘s kidnapping and the lengths the paper’s staff took to keep the story out of the media.

Rohde has been mum about his ordeal, but Tahir Ludin, an Afghan journalist captured with Rohde and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, gave his story to the Times last month. Hoyt dug up some other facts about the kidnapping and the cover up, and he didn’t agree with them all.

First, Hoyt said Rohde’s kidnappers had requested silence. “Possibly by defying them, we would be signing David’s death warrant,” Times executive editor Bill Keller told him.

What’s more, although we had already learned that Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales had helped to keep news of the kidnapping off Rohde’s Wiki page, Hoyt said Times reporter Michael Moss and spokeswomen Catherine Mathis “persuaded a group of New England newspapers to remove Rohde’s wedding notice and photos from their Web site so the kidnappers would not have personal information they could use to pressure him psychologically,” — a move Hoyt found “troubling.”

However, Hoyt generally seems to agree with the choices made by Keller and the others, admitting that the situation and others like it puts editors is “excruciating positions.”

“Had I been in Keller’s shoes, I would have done what he did for Rohde and his companions,” Hoyt concluded. “Even though Keller acknowledged, ‘I’ll never know for sure whether our silence had any impact whatsoever on David’s fate.”

Kidnapped NYT Reporter’s Escape Brings Press Blackout To Light

rohde.pngOver the weekend, news broke that Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter David Rohde had escaped from captivity in Afghanistan, where he had been held for the past seven months.

The news brought relief to a community overwhelmed by stories of violence against and arrests of journalists in Iran and the recent conviction of American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee in North Korea.

But after the relief subsided, other questions arose. Why had no one reported Rohde’s kidnapping? According to Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell, at least 40 news outlets knew about Rohde’s captivity, but they decided not to broadcast the news at the request of the Times. Mitchell said he worried that keeping the kidnapping a secret would jeopardize other reporters heading to the region, but ultimately decided it was the best cause of action in this case.

“I wonder now if a great debate will break out over media ethics in not reporting a story involving one of their own when they so eagerly rush out piece about nearly everything else,” Mitchell said in a post on The Huffington Post. “I imagine some may claim that the blackout would not have held if a smaller paper, not the mighty New York Times, had been involved. Or is saving this life (actually two, there was a local reporter also snatched) self-evidently justification enough?”


Did the press make the right decision to not report David Rohde’s kidnapping?(online surveys)

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