How to Survive a Kidnapping

"One moment you're free to do what you like, the master of your own destiny, and the next, you're under the control of someone else," Whyte said. He explained in the training that the best reaction is to acquiesce, "go with the flow because you don't want to antagonize your kidnappers."

Whyte acknowledged that journalists "can never really prepare 100 percent for what's going to happen them," and his goal is to give them awareness and survival techniques, including accepting food and water when offered, not to refuse out of some defiance.

The family of Olaf Wiig, the Fox cameraman who was one of the two kidnapped in Gaza, is hopeful he can survive his captivity. His brother, Sven Wiig, calls him "a very practical person."

"He has been through hostile and survival environments. ... He's a clear thinker, so I'm sure he would be all right," Sven Wiig said.

Pinder, with INSI, said the survival of kidnapped journalists depends more on the motive of the kidnappers than anything else. He said if the kidnappers are trying to make a political point, or are doing it for ransom, they will often release their captives, but if it's done to censor the news, "to shut up a journalist," as Pinder said, then they're often killed.

Former hostage Terry Anderson, who was kidnapped in 1985 in Beirut when working as a correspondent for The Associated Press, said the situation in the Middle East is different than it was in the mid-1980s, and so are the kidnappings.

Anderson, who works for the Committee to Protect Journalists, which helps foreign correspondents in danger, said that back then, the kidnappers would often keep their captors a long time. Anderson was in captivity for almost seven years before he was released in 1991.

He wrote about his ordeal in "Den of Lions," where he detailed how he survived. He, too, appealed to his captors over their faith and tried to make a human connection.

"I would ask them if God tells them that they are allowed to harm another human being," he wrote. The guard never answered his question and usually then apologized for the way they were treating him.

Security expert Mark Whyte believes there is "a greater incidence of journalists targeted" now because they are viewed as "party to the conflict, as Western media representing a Western view of what's going on." Whether or not a kidnapped journalist survives depends on his or her training and the captors themselves, he said.

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