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Good News for Terry? Cable News Network Receives 12-Minute Video of Hostage Journalist Terry Anderson; Says His Captors Will Have Good News Soon

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Good News for Terry? Cable News Network Receives 12-Minute Video of Hostage Journalist Terry Anderson; Says His Captors Will Have Good News Soon

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Good news for Terry?

Cable News Network receives 12-minute videotape of hostage journalist Terry Anderson; says his captors will have good news soon

A recently released videotape of journalist Terry Anderson, who has been a hostage in Lebanon since March of 1985, shows him looking relatively well and saying his captors will have "good news" soon.

The 12-minute tape was provided to Cable News Network Oct. 6 and was aired the same day. CNN reportedly acquired the tape through a Lebanese broadcast company, which acted as an intermediary to Islamic Jihad, the Shiite faction holding Anderson and others. When it aired the tape, CNN noted it could not independently verify where, when or by whom the interview was shot.

Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, looked better than he has in previous videos and still photos and, according to those who know him, appeared to be speaking his own words.

Anderson also seemed to be aware of the efforts by families, colleagues and officials to secure the release of the hostages.

"I've been told just a little while ago that we can expect some good news very soon," Anderson said, according to transcripts provided by CNN. "I was not told what that good news would be, simply that it would be good for the families, for our families, and for the families of the Lebanese hostages, that is for the Lebanese hostages in Khiam [in Lebanon] and in Israel.

"I can only hope, of course, that it means that someone or more people will be released on both sides. I don't know -- they have not given me any specific information, only that it would be good news. We weren't told who might be released, whether it would be me or Tom [Sutherland] or Terry [Waite] or someone else.

"I don't think that is terribly important at this moment, which one of us goes free or which two of us or how many Lebanese might be released in this stage of the process," said Anderson.

He also lauded the efforts of United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar, whose recent efforts to free the hostages "are enormously helpful."

In a moment of irony, Anderson said he did not know what he could "say about specific steps that I could recommend to the secretary general. He seems to be doing quite well by himself without my advice."

Anderson also thanked the freed hostages for their efforts and urged them and "all the people who are involved with you -- the families of the hostages, the friends of the hostages, various groups -- to continue to keep this issue alive, to keep it on the forefront and not to let it drag out, not to let it come to a halt again."

Anderson and the hostages he has been held with -- acting dean of agriculture at American University in Beirut Thomas Sutherland and Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite--have been allowed to listen to some radio and television and have heard their families speak. Anderson also said they have been able to read magazines, including Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report and The Economist.

"We talk a lot," he added. "We talk about everything--politics, religion, each other, our histories. We spend a great deal of time talking. That's really been our saving, having people to talk to, to share with."

Noting they have had "very few problems with our guards," Anderson said that "Overall, I think we're treated as well as can be expected under these circumstances."

The hostages, Anderson said, are given the medications they need for minor illnesses such as toothaches and colds, and the "food is not bad, sometimes good."

"Our relationships are surprising, under the circumstances fairly good, especially in the last year or two. We are treated with respect," he said.

Sutherland, Waite and Anderson "are highly encouraged by the news we've been hearing on the radio, by the statements of everyone concerned looking for a solution to this problem," said Anderson, who will turn 44 on Oct. …

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