Reporter's Escape From Taliban Spurs Ethics Debate

When news came this weekend that New York Times reporter David Rohde had escaped from his Taliban captors, few knew he had even been kidnapped, because for the seven months he and two Afghan colleagues were in the Taliban's hands, The Times kept that information under wraps.

Out of concern for the reporter's safety, The Times asked other major news organizations to do the same; NPR was among dozens of news outlets that did not report on the kidnapping at the urging of Rohde's colleagues.

Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics to journalists at the Poynter Institute, says she was "really astounded" by the media blackout.

"I find it a little disturbing, because it makes me wonder what else 40 international news organizations have agreed not to tell the public," she tells NPR's Melissa Block.

McBride says the blackout could hurt the credibility of news organizations.

"I don't think we do ourselves any favors long term for our credibility when we have a total news blackout on something that's clearly of interest to the public," she says.

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