World

UK Media Withholds Hostage's Name, Government Plans Response

The Steven Sotloff execution video revealed ISIS is holding a British citizen hostage. Now British outlets have agreed not to name him.

UK Media Withholds Hostage's Name, Government Plans Response
Getty Images / Chris Radburn

At the end of the video showing the execution of Steven Sotloff, the ISIS militant threatens to take the life of a British hostage next. But who is that hostage? 

A few American outlets are using the hostage's nameThe Washington Post reports he's an aid worker and was abducted in March of last year.  

But across the Atlantic, coverage of the hostage's abduction has looked and sounded more like this:

BBC: "It was disclosed that a British hostage is also under threat. The BBC is not naming him at the request of his family in Scotland."

The BBC isn't alone: Many other major British outlets such as Sky News and The Guardian have also opted not to use the hostage's name so far. 

It seems to be part of a media blackout on the story, which some analysts suggest was requested by the British government to help safeguard the hostage. 

A columnist writing for The Daily Beast argues such media blackouts don't actually help hostages, though. Instead he argues the British and American governments "should start by fighting the information war with ISIS. ... Openness would take away some of the control the jihadists have to administer shock as they go on killing."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron convened a special cabinet briefing to plan the government's response to the abduction and came away with this:

DAVID CAMERON VIA SKY NEWS: "This country will never give in to terrorism."

So far, Cameron has tried to drive the British response to ISIS' threat on a domestic level, pushing Parliament to give police the right to confiscate the passports of suspected militants.

But the question of using military force has also been raised — something Cameron attempted last year when he tried, and failed, to get Parliament to authorize airstrikes in Syria. This time the story could be different, but some lawmakers still aren't on board. (Video via CNN)

SIR MENZIES CAMPBELL VIA CHANNEL 4: "I am cautious because I do not believe that in every circumstance military action will provide the kind of solution one wants. ... We are very, very heavily involved without being involved in offensive action."

The British government is expected to take a parliamentary vote before authorizing any airstrikes against ISIS targets.