Journalists Held Hostage: Should Governments Pay Ransom to Terrorists?

January 24, 2019 @ 7:00 pm
Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater
555 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20001
Free and open to the public. Registration required.
Journalists Held Hostage: Should Governments Pay Ransom to Terrorists? @ Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater

Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, talks about his new book, “We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages and Ransom.”

Simon will be joined by David Rohde who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008 as a New York Times reporter before escaping seven months later. “PBS News Hour” anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff will moderate the conversation.

“We Want to Negotiate” explores the ethical, legal and strategic considerations of a bedeviling question: Should governments pay ransom to terrorists?

Starting in late 2012, Westerners working in Syria, including journalists and aid workers, were taken hostage by the Islamic State. But while Europeans came home, Americans were executed, including journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff followed by British hostages.

Simon, who’s worked on dozens of hostages cases, delves into the hostage policy debate. While the Europeans paid millions of dollars to a terrorist group to free their hostages, the United States and United Kingdom refused to do so, arguing that any ransom would be used to fuel terrorism and would make the crime more attractive, increasing the risk to their citizens.

A VIP reception will be hosted before the program for Friends of the First Amendment Society and Corporate Engagement Program members. To learn how you can attend this VIP function, please contact Cecelia Cizek at 202/292-6557 or

Comments are closed.