Earlier Jim Addison wrote that two Fox News journalists, reporter Steve Centanni and a New Zealand cameraman, Olaf Wiig, were kidnapped in Gaza and were being held against their will. (Mary Katharine Ham has an extensive post on the story.) I then read a Fox VP email, which was linked at Drudge, which instructed those at Fox to do no interviews, nor to even mention the kidnapping on air. This made me curious about why they would issue a news blackout on the story. I wondered if it was because negotiations were taking place or if they simply did not want to give terrorists the publicity they sought, or if there was some other reason. This AP update helps make sense of the email. It appears that negotiations are, in fact, underway.
Major militant groups in Gaza denied any connection to the incident; there was no immediate word of any demands made.
However, Wiig’s wife Anita McNaught said Fox representatives had told her negotiations for their release were already under way.
“There will be people working through the Palestinian Authority, through the authorities in Gaza … but Fox News are vastly experienced on the ground there, so they have all the contacts they need,” said McNaught, who is a BBC World television presenter.
McNaught, who is currently in Syria, told New Zealand’s National Radio she intends to come to the area soon to help secure the release of the two men.
Several foreigners have been kidnapped in Gaza in recent months with their abductors demanding jobs from the Palestinian Authority or the release of people being held in Palestinian jails. All those kidnapped have been released within hours without harm.I was at first hesitant to even write about this negotiation story, wondering if calling more attention to it might in some way negatively affect the outcome, in light of the Fox email. Since this story has been reported on CNN and by the Associated Press, and many blogs now, I decided to post.
We hear about journalists being kidnapped from time to time in these war zones, but often those journalists’ faces are unknown to us. When the reporter is someone well known, as Centanni surely is to regular Fox News watchers, it just seems more personal — more “real.” As Fox News Senior VP John Moody said, “pray for their release.”