For Immediate Release:
Hagit Limor, SPJ President, (513) 852-4012,
Ricardo Sandoval Palos, SPJ International Journalism Committee Chairman, (415) 786-1258,
Scott Leadingham, SPJ Communications Director, (317) 927-8000 ext. 211
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists and its International Journalism Committee are greatly concerned over the detention of journalist Dorothy Parvaz, held in Syria since Friday, April 29.
Parvaz, a U.S. citizen who also holds Canadian and Iranian citizenship, was traveling to Syria to cover popular uprisings for Al Jazeera. She previously worked 10 years at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
“We call on the Syrian government to release Dorothy,” SPJ President Hagit Limor said. “Her family, friends and colleagues want information. Amid backlash against Syrian leaders, it would behoove them not to continue such obtuse practices that have angered citizens in the first place.”
The U.S. State Department is aware of the situation and has heeded requests to investigate. SPJ calls on the U.S. government to do all it can to secure the safe release of Parvaz.
Parvaz’s family released a statement May 4. It read, in part: “Dorothy firmly believes that journalism is a force for justice across the globe. We know that Dorothy is staying strong. She is doing her part. Let's do ours to ensure her safe return. We need her released immediately and returned to us.”
Social media have played a large role in helping spread the word about Parvaz’s detainment. The Twitter hashtag #freedorothy is popular, and a “Free Dorothy Parvaz” page on Facebook has a large following of over 6,000 as of Thursday afternoon, May 5.
Other journalism and free press organizations have expressed concern for Parvaz and called for her release, including the Radio Television Digital News Association and the Committee to Project Journalists.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org