Council Calls for Release of Journalists Held in Syria

Thursday, August 30th 2012

PDC Also Calls for the Immediate Release of Journalists Held in Syria

The Public Diplomacy Council joins the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in calling for the immediate release of two journalists of the U.S.-funded Alhurra TV network in Arabic held for the past week in Syria. The Council endorses the BBG statement urging the Syrian government to ensure their safety.

The pair, correspondent Bashar Fahmi and Turkish cameraman Cuneyt Unal went missing August 20 while reporting from northern Syria. According to a Board press release, a Syrian government TV channel has now broadcast a statement by Unal describing himself as “as part of an international militant force.” BBG member Michael Meehan, chairman of the Middle East Broadcast Networks Inc. (MBN), Alhurra’s parent organization, flatly denies this, noting that “they entered Syria only to report the news.” And Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying that Unal was forced to make a statement dictated to him.

The Public Diplomacy Council, a nonprofit organization of specialists and scholars that supports the nation’s outreach to publics around the globe, applauds the courage and undaunted reportorial efforts of front-line journalists of U.S. media around the world, who risk their lives every hour of every day to obtain accurate, objective and comprehensive news and information so frequently unavailable on local media in the countries and regions they cover. The Council particularly notes the largely unheralded and risky work of reporters and on scene support personnel of the five U.S. government- funded overseas multimedia broadcast networks, the Voice of America, MBN, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and Radio-TV Marti to Cuba.  

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Author: Lisa Heyn

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