CPJ: Japan Should 'Explore All Options' to Free Hostages

The Committee to Protect Journalists has asked Japan to explore "all options" to try to secure the release of freelance journalist Kenji Goto and another ISIS captive, Haruna Yukawa.

Goto was kidnapped in Syria in October 2014 and he and Yukawa are the latest hostages threatened with execution on what has become an all-too-familar video featuring a threat of beheading if a ransom ($200 million) is not paid.

ISIS set a Friday deadline for action on the ransom request.

"Kenji Goto’s abduction underscores the high risk of kidnapping in northern Syria, including for international journalists and humanitarian workers who have been targeted solely for who they are and regardless of their intentions,” said CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, in a statement. “We call on the Japanese government to explore all available options to resolve this crisis.”

CPJ says Goto's work has been featured on NHK World and leading national TV network, the Tokyo Broadcasting System.

Does "all options" mean paying the ransom? Mansour told B&C that CPJ has no hard and fast policy on ransom, but, from a journalistic perspective, it generally does not approve of paying them because it makes other journalists more of a target. But CPJ understands the hostages families, friends and colleagues have a different perspective, he said, and wants the Japanese government to do whatever it can to try to get the hostages home safely — there could be other types of negotiations CPJ does not know about — though not necessarily a ransom.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.