Today marks seven years since American journalist Austin Tice went missing in Syria. Tice has been held captive in the country since August 2012. His mother, Debra Tice, has unrelentingly advocated for her son’s return. Tice was one of the first Western journalists to be kidnapped during the Syrian civil war.
On Aug. 11, McClatchy ran an op-ed about the Tice family launching the “Ask About Austin Tice” campaign that encourages the public to send messages to their members of Congress and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asking for Tice’s safe return to be an urgent priority.
From Sept. 30 through Oct. 1, photos of Tice will be on display in the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Reporters Without Borders.
In 2019, Debra Tice stated, “We keep reaching out to all the media outlets and saying, ‘Hey, this is your colleague and you should ask about him every chance you get.’”
The intelligence community confirmed in 2016 that Tice is likely alive, and under the Trump administration, efforts were made to create a back channel between the CIA and Syria’s National Security Bureau intelligence service to discuss Tice’s release.
NBC News reported that a State Department official said, “We are still operating under the assumption Austin is alive and are still liaising through our Czech colleagues to press the Assad regime to acknowledge his detainment and release.”
For the first time since learning of Tice’s abduction in April 2018, the FBI announced a $1 million reward for any information resulting in his safe return home. Since the reward was announced, the FBI and Tice’s family have seen an increase in information that could speed up his safe return.
In 2016, the Newseum unveiled a banner with Tice’s photo in front of the museum. It was the first time the museum raised a banner for a captured journalist. The banner remains in front of the museum today, a symbol of the Newseum’s commitment to raising awareness of the numerous threats that face reporters across the globe.
We stand with the Tice family and encourage the public to tweet #FreeAustinTice on a weekly basis.