Sounds like something out of a movie!
A Japanese journalist managed to tweet his location and current state while inside a prison in Afghanistan! Kosuke Tsuneoka has been kept captive for 5 months when a low ranking guard asked him for tips on using the internet on a Nokia N70 he had just purchased. Tsuneoka activated the Internet service on the phone by calling a support line and showed his captors how to read news from Al-Jazeera on the device. He then said that they should check out Twitter because they could use it to reach other journalists. Tsuneoka took the phone and used Twitter’s web interface to send two tweets in English:
These two tweets were immediately re-tweeted by hundreds of people and the buzz created was incomparable in Japan as these were the first signs of life from the journalist after being missing for 5 months. Though the tweets were a sign of hope for his family and friends, they did not do much to help since he was released the day after he tweeted for reasons even he still doesn’t know.
“On Tuesday, speaking in Tokyo, Tsuneoka answered these questions and revealed how he managed to convince his captors to give him access to the Internet.
It began three days earlier when one of his captors, whom he identified as a low-ranking soldier, was showing him a new cell phone. The phone, a Nokia N70, is advanced compared to what many are using in Afghanistan and the soldier didn’t know how to use it.
“He asked me if I knew how to use it, so I had a look and explained it to him,” said Tsuneoka.
The soldier had heard of the Internet, but he didn’t know what it was. When Tsuneoka mentioned it to him, he was eager to see it, but the phone wasn’t signed up to receive the carrier’s GPRS data service for accessing the Internet.
“I called the customer care number and activated the phone,” he said. Soon after he had the captor’s phone configured for Internet access.
“Once I told them I was able to access, they said ‘how do you use it?’, ‘can we see Al Jazeera?’.” Tsuneoka said he explained they just needed to type “Al Jazeera” into Google search to access the Qatar-based TV news network’s website.
“But if you are going to do anything, you should use Twitter,” he said he told them. “They asked what that was. And I told them that if you write something on it, then you can reach many Japanese journalists. So they said, ‘try it’.”
“I don’t think they realize they were tricked,” he said.“
After his ordeal was over, Tsuneoka got back to his usual self, tweeting only in Japanese!
Cheers for twitter being used as a life line!
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