This is an update of a previously published blog.

The issue of loved ones who are political captives is highly charged emotionally, with myriad ramifications. When it seems that, behind the scenes, nothing is being done to free loved ones it is certainly understandable for well-meaning, though impatient, individuals who wish to help, to jump in and attempt to move the process along. The following is intended as a case study of what might be immeasurably helpful, or not, and what might be misconstrued so as to lead to loss of credibility.

Until this afternoon, my stepson had been a detainee in Yemen since March 27 -- 173 days; he had not been heard from directly or indirectly since the 26th of March. Scott Darden, an American civilian, working for a New Orleans-based shipping firm, TransOceanic Development, was in that war-torn country on assignment to assist in the distribution of humanitarian supplies when the bombing began and he was detained. Prior to being detained, he had spoken warmly of his great love for the Yemeni people.

Although the FBI had urged public silence as they worked to have Scott and other captives freed, after nearly six months of seeming inactivity one close friend decided, on his own, to release the story to the Washington Post.

This friend also started a Facebook page, Free Scott Darden (since disabled); so far, so good. The friend chose not to give his name as administrator of the page, so it seemed to be either anonymous or an initiative by Scott's wife and family.

The page spread globally, with tremendous support and, since the news was already out, I joined its propagation and promoted it with my media contacts because, while it was not publicly attributed, the content until then was good.

Next, the administrator decided to feature a catalog-like photo of a T-shirt sayingKeep Calm and #FreeScottDarden. No solicitation was made, though the implication was that it would be offered for sale.

The image implied the future commercialization of this intensely stressful situation for the family; it left people wondering who would benefit from such potential sales, and implied that the family was initiating it. The administrator, for reasons unclear to me, had refused to acknowledge the site or to remove the T-shirt image and substitute it for a meme, which Scott's supporters could then share. This sensitive issue threatened the credibility of everyone who promoted the page in good faith, as an effort to help effect Scott's release.

I mention this difficult issue as a caveat for others who are in similar circumstances to ours. While it is unclear at this time whether the public attention helped or hurt the negotiating process for my stepson, it is clear that the decision to go public was risky and seemingly impetuous.

When, shortly after the story was released, the family decided to contain the publicity, I removed all reference to Scott's captivity from my Facebook page and website, and asked Huffington Post to remove the original of this article from their pages; they graciously complied, and I am grateful to them for that. Several weeks after the family's request, the Free Scott Darden Facebook page disappeared, as did information from the Free Scott website.

The decision to follow advice regarding keeping quiet about political captives, or to go public despite the advice, is a difficult one which, ideally, the family must make. Friends, no matter how passionately they may feel about seeming lack of progress, should be strong enough to defer to the family's wishes.

If, however, the decision is to go public, it is important to remember several important points. In addition to factual accuracy, the most important elements in mass communication are transparency, accountability, and ethical impeccability. If you are a novice to mass communication and you decide to go public, it would be wise to consult professionals in your public campaign.

 


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Captives of Authority look at the old origins of this image of politics analysis its logical rules and deal a way to move modern critiques of sovereignty outside their present stalemate.

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The society members should take care of their children’s and they should help their children’s in their problems. The people of the society should support their children’s in their education and other matter because they need help.

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Political captives are highly charged emotionally especially when he is your loved ones. I really appreciate the way author shows his thoughts in this blog.

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Dont think this is a wise decision!

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Very good post. I'm facing some of these issues as well..

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When loved ones are the political figures and renowned, the public policy and strategy is employed. It is the trends and wakes of the acceptance of the loved ones. It is mostly practiced in america.

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