Washington, D.C. -The Broadcasting Board of Governors stepped up calls today for information on the whereabouts Bashar Fahmi. Tomorrow marks six months since the disappearance of the Alhurra TV correspondent.
Fahmi was reporting from Aleppo, Syria on Aug. 20, 2012 when he was caught in the crossfire that led to the murder of one journalist and capture of another. Very few clues have emerged concerning his whereabouts and wellbeing.
“It’s time for him to come home,” said Michael Meehan, a member of the BBG Board and Chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. “These past six months have been heartbreaking for his family. And we are all very worried about him.”
“Bashar is a courageous journalist. His tenacity drives him to follow any story and report back to millions of viewers across the Arab world. It is that dedication that brought him to Syria,” said Brian Conniff, President of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc. “He is a journalist, period. If he is being held, we demand his immediate release. And we call on anyone that has information about Bashar’s whereabouts to please come forward.”
The Alhurra correspondent was traveling with his cameraman Cüneyt Ünal in Syria on Aug. 20th when a firefight erupted. Ünal was captured and released 90 days later. Japan Press’ Mika Yamamoto was killed during the deadly gun battle.
Friends and family have started a Freedom for Bashar Fahmi Facebook page, which has more than 300 likes and features a photograph of Fahmi with his wife and two children, as well as notes of encouragement from well-wishers.
Syria is the world’s “deadliest country for the press” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Freedom House’s 2012 Freedom of the Press findings explains that journalists are “targeted and subjected to violent attacks, leading to a steep decline in what was already a highly repressive media environment.”
Meehan added, “We call for anyone who has information regarding Bashar to come forward.”