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Last Updated: Friday, 13 April 2007, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Petition urges BBC man's release
Journalists protest in support of Alan Johnston in Ramallah
There have been a number of protests in support of Alan Johnston
An online petition calling for the release of the BBC's Gaza correspondent, Alan Johnston, has now gathered more than 30,000 signatures.

The reporter is presumed to have been abducted when he disappeared on 12 March after leaving his Gaza office.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for his immediate and unconditional release.

The BBC held a day of action on Thursday with al-Jazeera, CNN and Sky News joining a special live programme.

The unprecedented broadcast paid tribute to Alan Johnston's work and detailed the dangers for correspondents working in the Gaza Strip.

'Safe and well'

Mr Ban said Mr Johnston's coverage of Palestinian issues had won him a worldwide reputation.

He said freedom of the press should be protected "as a matter of principle".

The BBC's director general, Mark Thompson, met Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who told him "he had credible evidence that Alan was safe and well".

You have family. Please think about what this is doing to my family. Please let my son go now, today
Graham Johnston
Alan's father

But Mr Thompson said there had been no contact with any kidnappers and no demands had been received.

At a news conference in London on Thursday, Mr Johnston's parents appealed to their son's captors to immediately release him.

"You have family," said Alan's father, Graham Johnston.

"Please think about what this is doing to my family. Please let my son go now, today."

Kidnappers have abducted dozens of foreigners in Gaza, but none have been held for as long as Mr Johnston, missing for more than one month now.

The 44-year-old joined the BBC World Service in 1991 and has spent eight of the last 16 years as a correspondent, including periods in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.

He has lived and worked in Gaza for three years and was the only Western reporter permanently based in the often violent and lawless territory.

His posting in Gaza had been due to end in late March.



SEE ALSO
BBC director general's statement
12 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Text: Family's letter to Alan Johnston
12 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Broadcasters in BBC reporter plea
11 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Timeline: Alan Johnston missing
10 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Gaza reporter missing four weeks
10 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Easter pleas for missing BBC man
08 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Palestinians discuss BBC reporter
08 Apr 07 |  Middle East

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