Statement on Abduction of Daniel Pearl
Leonard R. Sussman, Freedom House's senior scholar in residence and coordinator of the organization's annual Press Freedom Survey, today issued a statement calling for the unconditional release of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Mr. Pearl was abducted January 23 in Pakistan while conducting research for a story. The full text of the statement follows.
The kidnapping by Muslim terrorists in Pakistan of Daniel Pearl, veteran correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, is an attack on the world public's right to receive information from a non-governmental source. It is an assault on independent journalism everywhere, and must be condemned.
But this act has no conceivable possibility of achieving the kidnappers' demands. No American newspaper can alter or determine the United States government's policies cited by the kidnappers. Mr. Pearl is responsible only to the Wall Street Journal, and in the case of Daniel Pearl the newspaper is responsible only for providing an outlet for his ample journalistic skills.
Freedom House, in its 60th year, monitors individual freedom worldwide. Journalism, free of government control and influence, is essential for the development of free societies and free countries. Daniel Pearl represents the essential freedom of the press. To state otherwise, is a myth that harms human freedom and dignity.
We, therefore, call upon the kidnappers to release Daniel Pearl immediately, safely, and return him to his French wife in Pakistan.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.