Footage of the kidnapped reporter Jill Carroll, aired by Al Jazeera on Monday, has prompted fresh efforts to secure her release from across the globe.
On the streets of Baghdad, average Iraqis speak of how shaken and angry they've been left by the latest footage of a weeping Ms. Carroll, a freelancer on assignment for the Monitor when she was abducted. An impromptu group of Iraqi editors is getting together to work on Carroll's release, and Reporters Without Borders, an international journalists' advocacy group, has dispatched a team to the Middle East to coordinate a pan-Arab media effort for Carroll.
"Everything is being done to work with those who might have influence, and there are an awful lot of people who are calling for her release," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters on Tuesday.
The front page of Baghdad's New Dawn newspaper Wednesday carried a public service announcement with a picture of Carroll urging her captors to free her and headlined "She loves Iraq. Now she needs your help."
"Everyone who has a conscience, and a faith in God and the law, cannot find any way to justify this terrible act," wrote New Dawn editor Ismael Zayer in a front page editorial on Feb. 1.
"Last night's short footage made our hearts sink. And with ours, the hearts of Iraqis, Muslims, and Arabs throughout the world should also sink,'' The Jordan Times, where Carroll worked before coming to Iraq in 2003, said in an editorial. "With her firm rejection of any propaganda, her resolve to serve the truth, even at great personal risk, and her determination to expose the horrors of war and the suffering of the Iraqi people, Jill makes one of the best ambassadors Arabs could ever hope for."
On Wednesday, Waddah Khanfar, managing director of Al Jazeera, made an on-air petition on behalf of himself and all Al Jazeera journalists, for the immediate release of Carroll.
Al Jazeera says the latest tape received from Carroll's captors, the previously unknown Revenge Brigades, was at least two minutes long. So far it has aired just 30 seconds in which only parts of Carroll's message are comprehensible. Al Jazeera's news presenter said the kidnappers demanded that all women in US and Iraqi Interior Ministry custody be released. Were this done, according to the Al Jazeera presenter, they said it "would help" in leading to Carroll's freedom.
Carroll was abducted on Jan. 7, along with her Iraqi interpreter Allan Enwiyah, after a failed attempt to meet with Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi at his office. As they drove away, they were set upon by kidnappers, who murdered Mr. Enwiyah.