In August 2012, freelance journalist Austin Tice disappeared while reporting in Syria. A brief video made public a few weeks later showed Tice as a captive. He has not been heard from since.
Austin’s parents, Marc and Debra, have waged a tireless effort to bring him home. They have traveled through the Middle East, met with government officials in various countries, and, with the support of our colleagues at Reporters Without Borders (RSF), waged a public campaign featuring full-page ads in American newspapers and a banner hung from the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
CPJ has provided financial and moral support to the Tices in their effort. Earlier this year, I met with Marc and Debra Tice in Houston, where they reside. The Tices have reason to believe that Austin is alive, although because of the sensitive nature of their efforts they cannot provide any details. They also believe that public attention helps their cause. And they had a favor to ask: Would it be possible for journalists who care about and defend press freedom to tweet their concern for Austin once a week? I committed to Debra that I would do so and would encourage others to join me.
So beginning this Monday at 10 a.m. ET, and until such time as Austin comes home, I will be tweeting the following each week: “This is a good week to #FreeAustinTice.” I hope many others will join me in this simple act of solidarity. It will provide critical support to the Tice family, and serve as a reminder that while Austin is missing, he is not forgotten.