BBG Renews Its Call for the Release of Bashar Fahmi and Cüneyt Ünal
It has been 50 days since the capture of Alhurra journalist Bashar Fahmi and his cameraman Cüneyt Ünal in Syria; the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) emphatically renews its call for their release.
On Aug. 20th Fahmi and Ünal were in reporting from Aleppo, Syria when they were abducted during a firefight that killed journalist Mika Yamamoto. On Aug. 26th, Ünal appeared on Syrian television looking exhausted with what appeared to be bruises under his eyes. There has yet to be any sighting of Fahmi, only the Syria government’s statement that it has no information on the missing Alhurra correspondent.
“It has been 50 days, without contact or information about Bashar or Cüneyt. We are deeply disturbed about the lack of information and have the utmost concern for their well-being and safety,” said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG Board and Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. “We demand the release of these two journalists.”
American freelance correspondent Austin Tice has been missing since Aug. 13. His last known location was a Damascus suburb. Syrian journalist Maya Nasser, a correspondent for Iran’s Press TV was fatally shot on Sept. 26th while covering a bombing in Damascus. According to Reporters Without Borders, Nasser was the 12th professional journalist to be killed since the uprising started in Syria in March 2011.
Calls for Fahmi and Ünal’s release continue from Turkey as well, where each Tuesday Arzu Fahmi and Nuran Ünal are joined by the Turkish News Cameramen Association to demonstrate in front of the Syrian Consulate in Istanbul demanding the release of their husbands.
The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency, supervising all U.S. government-supported, civilian international broadcasting, whose mission is inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. BBG broadcasts reach an audience of 187 million in 100 countries. BBG networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa), Radio Free Asia, and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Marti).