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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
BBC's Johnston wins press award
Alan Johnston
Alan Johnston was abducted at gunpoint on 12 March
BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, who was abducted in Gaza nearly two months ago, has won a major journalism prize at a London awards ceremony.

He was named broadcast journalist of the year by the London Press Club for his work reporting from the Gaza Strip.

Mr Johnston has not been seen since he was seized at gunpoint on 12 March.

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.

He has been widely acclaimed for his reporting from across Gaza, which is home to 1.3 million Palestinians.

The awards ceremony was held a day after an Islamic group purporting to hold Mr Johnston issued demands for his release and distributed a tape containing an image of the reporter's BBC staff pass.

The BBC has said it hopes the tape is a sign that Alan Johnston will soon be released.

World protests

At the time of his nomination, the London Press Club pointed out that the decision to nominate Mr Johnston was taken before his kidnap.

Mr Johnston's reports for BBC TV, radio and for the BBC News website offered some insight into how the volatile security situation in Gaza affected the lives of ordinary Palestinians.

His abduction has provoked a strong reaction from journalists around the world, including among Palestinian media workers.

Alan Johnston's BBC id
An Islamic group released this image of Mr Johnston's ID card
They staged a three-day strike to protest at Mr Johnston's seizure soon after his disappearance.

In pleas to their son's captors, Mr Johnston's parents have appealed for his release, describing him as "a friend of the Palestinian people".

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Archbishop of York called for Mr Johnston to be freed, and told of his own imprisonment in Idi Amin's Uganda.

The Archbishop described how he was "kicked around like a football and beaten terribly" in a Ugandan jail.

Mr Johnston 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.




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