At Press Conference, ‘Christian Science Monitor’ Editor Remains Hopeful Reporter Will Be Released

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By: E&P Staff

Christian Science Monitor editors remain hopeful that abducted reporter Jill Carroll would be released, Washington Bureau Chief David Cook told reporters at a brief press conference Wednesday afternoon, just a day after a video of Carroll appeared on Arab television. Cook offered little specific information on negotiations to get her released, but stressed that her captors should focus on the paper’s longstanding tradition of fair and compassionate journalism.

“We certainly haven’t given up on getting Jill back,” Cook said. “We were heartened by statements that came out today by the Sunni clerics and politicians.” He referred to a string of positive comments from Arab groups, which the paper posted on its Web site earlier today.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Ministry of Justice will reportedly grant an early release to six of the eight women being held by coalition forces in Iraq, according to the BBC, in an apparent response to demands from the abductors of kidnapped reporter Jill Carroll.

In an online report on its Web site, the BBC claims, “The six will be freed because there is insufficient evidence to charge them, a justice ministry spokesman said.”

At the press conference, in defense of Carroll’s reporting, Cook said, “We try to practice journalism that treats people fairly and strives to help and not injure individuals.” When asked about the video, in which Carroll appears to be speaking, Cook said he did not know what was being said on the tape, adding, “no one at the Monitor has seen more of the tape than you have last night. We would like to.” He said he was unaware of any further contact with the abductors beyond the tape.

Cook declined to comment on which government entities the Monitor is in contact with about Carroll’s abduction, or who might be negotiating on her behalf. “We have to be mindful of the fact that we have a colleague in captivity,” he said. “I don’t think it would be helpful to Jill to go beyond that.” He added that the group responsible for the kidnapping is believed to be the Revenge Brigade because of a logo on the video itself.

When asked about Carroll’s family, Cook said the paper was in contact with the family, but offered no details. “We’re working very closely with them,” he said.

Cook also said the paper was caring for the family of Carroll’s translator, who died in the altercation in which she was abducted, but he did not specify how. “We intend to care for the family of the translator,” he said. “We need to exercise some caution because the translator was slain.”

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