Mellissa Fung

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Mellissa Fung
Born 1972/1973
Hong Kong
Ethnicity Chinese Canadian
Education University of British Columbia, Columbia University
Occupation Journalist
Notable credit(s) CBC News
Family Kellog (father), Joyce (mother)

Mellissa Fung is a Canadian journalist with CBC News, appearing regularly as a field correspondent on The National.

Education and career[edit]

Fung and her younger sister[1] are the daughters of Kellog and Joyce Fung.[2] She was born in Hong Kong,[3] and her family moved to Vancouver when she was four years old.[1] There, she attended an all-girls Catholic high school,[1] then completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of British Columbia where she contributed regularly to the student-run newspaper The Ubyssey.[4] After graduating in 1994, she earned a Master's degree from Columbia School of Journalism in 1995. From February 2001 to 2003 she reported for CBC-TV News in Vancouver. Since December 2003, she has served as a national reporter for CBC Television, working out of Toronto and Regina.[4]

In her time as a national correspondent she has covered numerous topics on both Canadian and world affairs, including the Robert Pickton trial, the 2003 SARS outbreak in Canada, the trial of Mike Danton, the 2007 Saskatchewan provincial election, 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and uncovering Canada's international sales of toxic asbestos. In 2007 and 2008 she was sent on assignment to Afghanistan to cover the Canadian military presence there.

2008 kidnapping[edit]

In late 2008, Fung was sent on her second assignment to Afghanistan, based out of the Canadian military base at Kandahar.[2]

On October 12, while en route to a refugee camp near Kabul, she was kidnapped by armed men. Fung alerted her employer using her mobile phone and stated that the kidnappers were not Taliban but "bandits".[2] Her translator and driver—two Afghan brothers named Shokoor Feroz and Qaem Feroz—were beaten and left behind by the kidnappers. Before her captors abandoned her for the last week, she was blindfolded and chained to the inside of a tiny, dark cave. Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman in the eastern part of the county, told The Canadian Press that another Islamist group called Hizb-e-Islami was responsible for the abduction.[5] They were later implicated by Afghan authorities in the kidnapping and detained,[4] though CBC publisher John Cruickshank expressed confidence in them and stated that they were worried about their conditions in prison.[6]

The kidnapping occurred two days before the 2008 Canadian federal election, and CBC requested a press blackout while negotiations were conducted with the kidnappers, out of concern that widespread media coverage would complicate matters.[7] Though the incident was covered in Afghan press,[8] the blackout was honoured by all Canadian media and Fung's kidnapping remained generally unknown within Canada.

Fung was finally released on November 8, 2008 after weeks of negotiations.[9] A spokesman for the governor of Wardak Province indicated that local tribal elders and provincial council members negotiated Fung's release and that no ransom was paid.[10] However, it was later revealed that Afghan intelligence determined the identity of the kidnapper, abducted his family, then demanded Fung be released in a prisoner exchange.[11]

She was interviewed about her kidnapping on November 12, 2008, by CBC Radio's Anna Maria Tremonti, in Dubai.[12] The interview later earned Tremonti and Fung a gold medal at the 2009 New York Festivals Radio Programming and Promotion Awards.[13]

Fung wrote the book Under an Afghan Sky about her experiences. During an interview with a columnist from The Globe and Mail, she said "I thought it might be cathartic...But it wasn’t."[1] On May 5, 2011, Fung was interviewed by CBC radio and CBC TV to talk about her experience and her book.[14][15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hampson, Sarah (11 May 2011). "How Mellissa Fung survived 28 days of captivity in Afghanistan". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  2. ^ a b c Associated Press (November 8, 2008). "Abducted CBC journalist released in Afghanistan". CBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  3. ^ CBC News - The National - Mellissa Fung
  4. ^ a b c Hunter, Stuart (November 8, 2008). "CBC reporter from Vancouver rescued from Afghan captors". The Province. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Freed reporter opens up about Afghan kidnapping". CTV.ca. 2008-11-09. Retrieved 2010-04-23. 
  6. ^ Smith, Graeme (10 November 2008). "Taliban say hostage was theirs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2008-11-10. [dead link]
  7. ^ MacCharles, Tonda (November 8, 2008). "CBC reporter freed in Afghanistan". Torstar News Service. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  8. ^ "Canadian Journalist kidnapped in Kabul". Bakhtar News Agency. October 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-08. [dead link]
  9. ^ Smith, Graeme (November 8, 2008). "Canadian journalist safe after secret Afghan kidnapping ordeal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2008-11-08. [dead link]
  10. ^ Associated Press (2008). "Canadian TV reporter abducted in Kabul freed". Sunbeam Television Corp. Retrieved November 9, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Canadian journalist fingers criminal family in her abduction". AFP. Archived from the original on 2013-09-12. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  12. ^ "The National - Interview with Mellissa Fung". CBC News. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  13. ^ "CBC's Mellissa Fung interview wins gold at New York gala". CBC News. July 8, 2009. 
  14. ^ "CBC The Current - A Memoir of Captivity: Mellissa Fung". CBC News. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-05-13. 
  15. ^ "CBC The National - Under an Afghan Sky: Mellissa Fung's memoir of 28 days in captivity". CBC News. 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-05-13.