BBG Renews Calls for Release of Missing Journalists, Seeks Third-Party Access

Bashar Fahmi

Bashar Fahmi

The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has again called for the immediate release of two Alhurra journalists who went missing in Syria one month ago today.

Additionally, the BBG is seeking third-party access to detained cameraman Cüneyt Ünal to determine his well-being, and has asked the Syrian government to release any information it has regarding Alhurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi.

Fahmi and Ünal were in Aleppo reporting for Alhurra Television on August 20 when a firefight erupted and they were caught in the crossfire; Japanese journalist Mika Yamamoto of Japan Press was killed in the skirmish, while the two Alhurra journalists were reportedly taken by Syrian forces.  Six days later, Ünal appeared on Syrian television with what appeared to be bruises under his eyes.  On Sept. 4th, the Syrian Information Ministry said it had no knowledge of the whereabouts of Fahmi.

“We know that Fahmi and Ünal were together when they were captured in Syria,” said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG board and Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.  “The BBG remains concerned about the welfare and safety of two men, who were in Syria on a purely journalistic mission, and we continue to demand their release without delay.  And if Syrian authorities are holding either one of these two men, they should allow a third-party organization the opportunity to seek them out and provide access to medical care.”

During a meeting last week with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Presiding Governor Michael Lynton raised the subject of the missing Syrian journalists, and their situation was the first order of business at the Board’s regular meeting that day.

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