Reactions to the detention of Dorothy Parvaz

Press freedom advocacy groups and several governments speak out over case.

    Al Jazeera's Dorothy Parvaz has been held by Syrian authorities since Friday [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

    Reactions to the detention of Al Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz:

    Mark Toner, US State Department spokesman

    We are certainly aware of the case of this detained American journalist for Al Jazeera.

    And we've asked for, obviously, given that she's an American citizen, for consular access.

    JJ Harder, spokesman at US embassy in Damascus

    We are aware of the case and have reached out to Syrian officials for more information. Due to the Privacy Act, we are unable to provide additional details.

    Press attache, US embassy in Damascus

    Ambassador Ford met with a senior Syrian official about the issue of M.s Dorothy Parvaz, and he asked for more information and consular access.

    We're hoping that this gets worked out very soon.

    Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian foreign minister

    I hope that it is not true, but if that is the case, then we demand the government of Syria to look into this.

    Christine Fages, French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman

    We understand that Dorothy Parvaz has now not given news for two weeks, and it's a very long time. So we are calling on the Iranian and Syrian authorities to shed any possible light on her situation, to give all the information they have, and we call on the Bashar al-Assad regime to let journalists work freely in Syria and to provide every security they are entitled to get when they work.

    Soazig Dollet, Reporters Without Borders, North Africa and Middle East Desk

    Anyone who dares to speak out [in Syria] continues to be exposed to arbitrary arrest.

    Al Jazeera announced on 27 April that it was suspending all activities throughout Syria until further notice because of the many threats and acts of intimidation against its crews.

    Its Syrian employees have repeatedly been threatened by the authorities, and stones and eggs were thrown at its offices on 24, 25 and 26 April.

    Around 100 people gathered outside its Damascus bureau on 30 April, accusing it of "lying" and "exaggerating" in its coverage of the anti-government protests that began in mid-March.

    Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Committee to Protect Journalists program co-ordinator

    Obviously we are worried for the safety of Dorothy, specifically, as we are for numerous other journalists who are in government custody right now.

    Philip Luther, Amnesty International deputy director

    We fear that many of the hundreds currently detained by the Syrian authorities have been arrested arbitrarily.

    Al Karam for Human Rights

    Al Karama sent her case to the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance in an effort to exert pressure on the Syrian government for Dorothy Parvaz's release.

    Since protests began on 15 March 2011, media outlets have been prevented from covering the gross human rights violations being committed by the Syrian security forces.

    The world's media has depended on email reports from Syrian activists and amateur footage being leaked via Youtube. The images have often been graphic and violent depictions of hysteria.

    Jan Keulen, Doha Center for Media Freedom director

    The Doha Centre for Media Freedom is very concerned about the mysterious disappearance of Dorothy in Syria and urges the Syrian government to reveal her whereabouts and insure her safety.

    [DCMF] remains deeply worried about Dorothy's fate as no news was conveyed to her family nor disclosed publicly, despite repeated calls by Al Jazeera and other rights groups and activists on Syrian authorities to co-operate in determining how she was processed at the airport and what her current location is.

    Richard J Evans, president of Wolfson College, Cambridge University

    It is with great concern that we learn that Dorothy Parvaz, a 39-year-old journalist with Al Jazeera based in Doha, Qatar, and a former Press Fellow of Wolfson College, has gone missing in Syria and is currently unaccounted for. 

    Dorothy is a courageous and principled journalist whose lifelong ambition has been to report on events in the Middle East ... We call on the Syrian authorities to respect press freedom, to guarantee Dorothy's safety and to enable her to discharge the duties for which she has trained so assiduously.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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