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Google Saves Kidnapped Journalist in Iraq

Google Saves Kidnapped Journalist in Iraq

Google can claim another life saved after a kidnapped Australian journalist was freed by his captors in Iraq earlier today. Freelance journalist John Martinkus was abducted by gunmen on Saturday outside a hotel near the Australian embassy. Apparently Martinkus was able to convince his captors that he was a journalist and not a CIA agent, a claim easily confirmed by a quick Google search.

Mike Carey, a producer with Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, told the Associated Press that, Google likely saved Martinkus’ life. “They Googled him and then went onto a web site – either his own or his book publisher’s web site, I don’t know which one – and saw that he was who he was, and that was instrumental in letting him go, I think, or swinging their decision.”

Martinkus was filming a report for SBS’s Dateline program and was preparing to leave Iraq when he was grabbed about 5pm (AEST) on Saturday outside a hotel popular with foreign correspondents.

SBS executive producer Mike Carey today said the journalist’s captors had investigated his background online and saw he was harmless.

“They had thought he was working for the Americans as an informer.” In this case, modern technology probably saved his life, he said. “It certainly did help,” Carey said.

Martinkus is reported to be heading home to Australia. Neither version of Google-bot was available for comment.

Jim Hedger is a senior editor for Also he is a writer, speaker and search engine marketing expert based in Victoria BC. Jim works with a limited group of clients and provides consultancy services. He has worked as an SEO for over 5 years and welcomes the opportunity to share his experience through interviews, articles and speaking engagements. Hedger can be reached at

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Google Saves Kidnapped Journalist in Iraq

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