Journalists working in Iraq face huge risks, often emanating from unruly armed gangs and armed groups.

In the process of braving these risks, many journalists have lost their lives. Several have been kidnapped and released later. Many have been injured.

The suffering of and blood shed by reporters in Iraq have reflected badly on the reputation of the Iraqi people. Our image as a peace-loving and civilized nation has been marred by the violence, especially that directed against journalists.

Without exception, Azzaman has sided with journalists working in Iraq, because it truly believes that they are the apostles of truth.

And today it stands on the side of yet another of these apostles - American journalist Jill Carroll, who is still languishing somewhere in the country at the hands of her captors.

Carroll was known for her credibility and balance and her reports gave fair and accurate information to the outside world regarding conditions in the country.

She took no stand against this country and resisted adopting the policy of her country vis-à-vis the war. The newspaper she worked for - the Christian Science Monitor - is not known to have published material inciting hatred of the Iraqi people or tarnishing their values, traditions and beliefs. Her abduction is a crime and an action harmful to the interests of Iraq and its people. In fact, Iraq is in desperate need of the kind of reporting Carroll undertook before her kidnapping.

We need to protect journalists like Carroll and provide them with the circumstances necessary for them to feel secure and free to roam to allow them to provide a true picture of conditions in our country.

We create more enemies than friends through such actions and it is not at all in Iraq’s interests to harm and antagonize reporters like Carroll.

People like Carroll are the ones we need to rebuild our country, defend our national cause and regain our sovereignty.

Therefore, Azzaman pleads with her abductors not to harm her and let her go.