Protestors Demand Release of Alhurra Journalist (Photo Gallery)
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Some 200 journalists marched to the Syrian embassy in Ankara, Turkey, demanding the release of an Alhurra reporter and his cameraman who went missing in Syria August 20.
Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cüneyt Ünal have not been heard from since entering Syria to report on events there. Their wives Arzu Kadumi and Nuran Ünal led the protest in Ankara.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors has called on the Syrian government to release any information they have on the capture and whereabouts of the Fahmi and Ünal.
On Sept. 4th, the Syrian Information Ministry released a statement saying that Fahmi is not with the Syrian authorities. This follows an August 26th video on a Syrian government channel of Ünal giving a brief statement in which he describes himself as part of an international militant force. The Turkish Foreign Minister has said that Ünal was forced to make the statement.
“Fahmi and Ünal were captured together in Aleppo on August 20th. Ünal alone appeared in the disturbing video on Syrian Television. Now the Syrian government claims to have no responsibility of Fahmi,” said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG board and Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. “We remain concerned about the lack of information as to the whereabouts and well-being of both journalists.”
The International Press Institute (IPI) joined in expressing deep concern over the fate of two journalists reportedly captured by Syrian loyalist forces in Aleppo last month after the Syrian government on Tuesday denied that it was holding one of them.
IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “The denial by Syrian authorities that they are holding Mr. Fahmi, despite reports that he was captured by forces loyal to the government, is an extremely worrying development. We urge the authorities to release Mr. Ünal and to take immediate steps to locate Mr. Fahmi and ensure his wellbeing – if he is indeed not in their custody – so that he may return home.”