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?”