The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its affiliates in the US in welcoming the release of Theo Curtis, the American journalist who was released on Sunday 24 August in Syria, while voicing concern for the safety of many others still being held, including up to twenty in Syria alone.
The IFJ affiliate in Washington, the NewsGuild –CWA, said journalists are increasingly being targeted for abductions by groups seeking to advance their political agenda.
“We remain concerned that in so many current conflicts journalists have just become pawns, used or killed for someone's political agenda,” said NewsGuild-CWA President, Bernard Lunzer. “The release of American journalist Theo Curtis brings us a small measure of hope for all journalists that are currently either being held, or are working in harm's way. Journalists continue to try and tell the stories so that the truth can win out and so that differences between peoples can be resolved. They deserve everyone's admiration and support. “
Reports said that Curtis was being held captive by al-Nusra group since his capture in 2012 after he was abducted in Turkey on his way to Syria.
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, was quoted as saying that the US ‘ had worked with more than two dozen countries to help secure his release’ and the journalist’s family has thanked the government of Qatar for its role in securing Curtis’ freedom.
The IFJ urges the governments in the region to double their efforts to secure freedom for all held journalists, particularly Steven Sotloff, another American journalist held by the Islamic State. The militant group threatened to kill him if US strikes against the group continue in Iraq.
“Everything must be done to rescue him and spare him the same fate as James Foley’s,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “The international community must come together and make it clear that the abduction of journalists, as civilians, is a violation of the laws of war which will not be tolerated.”
For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 07