Last week, on Wednesday, 20 June, thousands of BBC staffers around the world fell silent — at festivals, in conferences and on air — to mark the 100th day of captivity for BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston.
Johnston, the only Western radio or television correspondent permanently based in Gaza, was kidnapped on 12 March shortly after leaving his office. In the ensuing weeks, at least two groups claimed to be holding Johnston; he is now believed to be held by Jaish al-Islam, which has released video footage of a captive Johnston.
British, Palestinian and United Nations officials have worked to achieve his safe release. Most recently, on 18 June, a Hamas spokesperson said that force could be used to free Johnston. Over the weekend, a new video surfaced threatening to kill Johnston if force were used to rescue him.
For the moment of silence, BBC staffers stopped what they were doing at 2:15 British Summer Time. The pause was observed on air, during the BBC Trust meetings, on the set of the soap opera “EastEnders,” by staff at the Glastonbury music festival and by thousands of Johnston’s colleagues around the world.
During the two-minute pause, 100 white balloons were released in Johnston’s hometown in Scotland by his parents.
Full coverage of Johnston’s captivity and the efforts to secure his release are available on the BBC News Web site: Alan Johnston Special Report.