Austin Tice, shown above, has not been heard from in more than a week. (AFP/James Lawler Duggan)
Austin Tice, shown above, has not been heard from in more than a week. (AFP/James Lawler Duggan)

U.S. journalist unaccounted for in Syria

New York, August 23, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the well-being of U.S. freelance journalist Austin Tice, who has not been heard from in Syria for more than a week, according to reports from The Washington Post and the McClatchy news service, two outlets for which he was reporting. 

Tice, 31, has reported on the conflict in Syria since May 2012, often traveling with the Free Syrian Army, according to his profile on the photo-sharing website Flickr. His family and his editors at the Post and McClatchy have been unable to establish contact with Tice since mid-August.

“We are concerned that family and editors have lost contact with Austin Tice, a journalist who has been reporting on events in Syria for some of the leading international media outlets,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “His work is protected by international law, which guarantees the right to seek and receive information. As a journalist, he is a civilian and must be protected from harm.”

Tice is currently enrolled as a student at Georgetown Law School, according to his professional profile on LinkedIn. Along with his reporting for the Post and McClatchy, Tice has contributed to numerous news outlets including Agence France-Presse, CBS, and Al-Jazeera English. Prior to becoming a journalist, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, the profile said.

CPJ has documented a resurgence in dangers facing the press in Syria in the past several weeks. Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto died in the northern city of Aleppo on Monday. Bashar Fahmi, a Palestinian reporter for the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Al-Hurra, and Cüneyt Ünal, a Turkish cameraman for the station, who were also in Aleppo, have not been heard from since Monday, CPJ research shows. In a video that purported to document Yamamoto’s death, a rebel fighter said the two Al-Hurra journalists had been seized by Syrian forces. That claim could not be independently corroborated.

CPJ has also documented the abductions of both local and international journalists. Armed militants kidnapped John Cantlie, a British freelance photographer, and Jeroen Oerlemans, a Dutch freelance photographer, while crossing into Syria from Turkey on July 19, CPJ research shows. They were released a week later. At least 19 journalists have been killed covering the Syrian conflict since November, including one killed just over the border in Lebanon, making Syria the most dangerous place in the world for journalists, according to CPJ research

  • For more data and analysis on Syria, visit CPJ’s Syria page here.