BBC plans day of action for Alan Johnston
The BBC is planning a day of action tomorrow (Thursday 12 April) to highlight the plight of Alan Johnston, BBC Gaza correspondent, who was abducted on 12 March 2007.
Mark Thompson, BBC Director-General, will cut short his holiday to travel to the Middle East to appeal for Alan's release.
The day of action will also see poster sites unveiled in London and Scotland and, for the first time, the four major international news broadcasters will come together to produce a special programme.
The BBC's two TV news channels - BBC World and BBC News 24 - together with Al Jazeera English and Sky News will simulcast the programme, and there will also be contributions from CNN.
Alan is the BBC's highly experienced and respected correspondent and one of only a few western journalists who have been permanently based in Gaza. He has spent three years living and working in the area.
It has now been a month since his disappearance in Gaza and his family and colleagues at the BBC are increasingly concerned for his well being.
As part of the day's activity, for the first time, a simulcast programme will go on air from 2.30 to 3pm anchored by Jeremy Bowen, the BBC's Middle East Editor, from Ramallah.
It will incorporate packages from the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, and Sky. It will also have live reports from BBC, Al-Jazeera and Sky anchors and correspondents in Ramallah, Gaza and London.
The programme will look back at events in the month since Alan's disappearance and will include background packages on day-to-day life in Gaza as well as the increasing threats facing journalists working in danger zones around the world.
Richard Porter, Head of News, BBC World, said: "We wanted to produce a programme which had impact in the Middle East and around the globe and we are extremely grateful for all the cooperation shown by our fellow broadcasters.
"We don't think this has ever happened before - but all the broadcasters involved share a common aim to highlight Alan's case and to remind viewers of the dangers faced by their news teams more frequently than ever."
Additionally, the BBC has secured large poster sites featuring calls for Alan's release. The posters will be sited at three central London locations (Westminster Bridge Road; Golden Square, Lambeth Palace Road and Westminster Bridge Roundabout) and in George Square, Glasgow and Haymarket, Edinburgh.
News 24 will carry a message on its news ticker throughout the day calling for Alan's release.
KR/BBC News Publicity