Hostage International in the media
What Hostage International can and can’t comment on in the media
Hostage International rarely comments in the media, as our priority is to respect the privacy of families and former hostages and to deliver an immediate and high-quality support service. When we do comment in the media, we always respect the confidentiality of those concerned and our aim is to raise general awareness of the plight of families and hostages. When we do talk to the media, here is what we do and do not talk about:
Hostage International can comment in the media about the plight of hostages and their families during and after a kidnapping. We can talk about what families go through, some of the challenges they face – emotional, legal, financial, psychological – and the challenges for hostages of reintegrating into home and work on their return.
Hostage International can comment on the need for independent and confidential help for families and returning hostages and their need to access specialist professional care from mental health professionals, lawyers and others.
Hostage International can comment on how the needs of families and hostages have changed over time and some of the new challenges they face. These include the rise of social media, changing media reporting practices, and the growth of terrorist hostage taking for financial, political and propaganda purposes.
Hostage International will not comment on individual cases, whether we are involved in supporting the hostage or their family or not. We never pass judgment on what an individual or their family is doing in these circumstances. They have very difficult decisions to make and there is rarely a right or wrong answer.
Hostage International will not comment on what is being done to bring about the release of the hostage. We are not involved operationally in cases and are not privy to information about what is being done. We are therefore not qualified to make judgments about whether the right strategy is being adopted or if enough is being done. Speculation of this kind can be hurtful for the family and can have a negative impact on negotiations. This is a matter for families, not Hostage International.
Hostage International will not talk about the payment of ransoms. We recognise there are laws which illegalise the payment of ransoms in certain situations and that families must make incredibly difficult decisions about their loved ones. We also recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the strategy for resolving a kidnapping will be unique to each case.
How to contact us
If you want to invite Hostage International to an interview, please contact us through the Hostage International helpline 0845 608 1360 or email us at [email protected] Please let us know the nature of your inquiry, your deadline and how to contact you.
Hostage International is a small charity which is focussed on service delivery for hostages and their families. Sometimes we might not be able to get back to you. We will always do our best to respond as soon as we can. We are grateful for your patience and understanding.
Media interviews with hostage families and former hostages
Hostage International will receive requests for interviews with former hostages and family members. We will do our best to pass on these requests, but we cannot confirm to you whether we have supported the individual or not, as we provide our support on a confidential basis. We will never put pressure on anyone to take part in an interview.
If you would like to reach a former hostage or family member, please email us at [email protected] and include some information about the nature of your enquiry, who you would like to reach and what you would be looking for from them. We will do our best to pass this on, but we cannot guarantee a response.
We are grateful for your understanding that we are primarily a service delivery organisation and might not always be able to respond quickly. See Responsible Interview Techniques.