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the bbc's gaza correspondent alan johnston has been missing presumed abducted for 37 days, on sunday, a previously unheard of group claimed responsiblity for his murder, on monday, the director general claimed that this was unverified, but that the bbc was highly concerned for johnston's safety.

this followed last week's day of action - marking a month since his disappearance - which included mark thompson meeting with the palestinian president. palestian journalists have been striking on and off to mark their respect for him, and there have been regular vigils at television centre and at bbc locations around the globe.

on monday, the author hanif kureishi accused the bbc of "censorship" for postponing the planned airing of his short story 'weddings and beheadings' on radio 4 tomorrow. kureishi stated that "There are journalists and newspapers in peril all the time around the world. We support them by supporting freedom of speech rather than by censoring ourselves."

he appeared on the bbc's today programme this morning, and appeared to argue that the feelings of johnston's friends and family were irrelevant when it came to kureishi's work being broadcast.

to me, this seems like the work of an idiot. his story is probably excellent - it takes the perspective of a would-be filmmaker who is coerced into filming the executions performed by a jihad group - the buddha of suburbia is a terrific book - in fact, i blogged when i first read it. but kureishi has done himself no favours here.

this really doesn't feel like an argument for free speech. it feels like the argument of a self-obsessive who finds it hard to consider the emotions of others - hardly an asset in a novelist.

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