The Broadcasting Board of Governors, which protects the
independence of the U.S. government's international broadcasts, met in Prague
and Washington, D.C., Wednesday and renewed
their call for the release of journalists held/missing in Syria, as well
as, generally, an end to the harassment of and threats to the press
Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi has been missing for 10
months. "The Board demands the immediate release of Bashar Fahmi,"
said BBG governor Susan McCue, "as well as the other journalists being
held incommunicado in Syria, including Austin Tice and James Foley."
McCue also said that leading up to the Iranian elections,
VOA journalists' families were threatened and attempts were made to disrupt
satellite signals. "These attempts to deprive citizens of news and
information are troubling, to say the least," she said. She also said
several journalists had been threatened in recent weeks in Iraq and listed
detentions, threats and harassment in other regions. "Citizens deserve
free and open access to information," McCue said, calling on officials and
local authorities to ensure the safety of all journalists and punish those
"who threaten or harm reporters."
Fahmi was reporting from Aleppo along with cameraman Cuneyt
Unal when both went missing Aug. 20 after a firefight in which Japan Press'
Mika Yamamoto was killed. Unal was captured and later released, but Fahmi
Freelance American journalist Austin Tice had
filed on the Syrian conflict for a number of news outlets, including The Washington Post, CBS and Al-Jazeera
English before he disappeared in mid-August 2012. Foley, a U.S. freelance
journalist, was kidnapped in Syria on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22, 2012).