USA: 11 years after journalist Austin Tice’s capture, RSF urges the Biden Administration to secure his immediate release
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the safe return of American journalist Austin Tice, who was kidnapped in Syria while reporting on the country’s civil war 11 years ago
Austin Tice was taken prisoner at a checkpoint near Damascus on August 14, 2012 while covering Syria’s civil war for several media outlets. He has remained incommunicado since the day he was captured, but President Joe Biden declared last year the US government knows “with certainty that he has been held by the Syrian regime” and called on Damascus to cooperate on efforts to release him.
The US government has yet to show significant progress in bringing him home. However, the Biden Administration has made recent attempts to reiterate their commitment to Tice’s case. “We’re extensively engaged with regard to Austin — engaged with Syria, engaged with third countries — seeking to find a way to get him home. And we’re not going to relent until we do,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at an RSF event on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, He applauded the courage of Austin’s family and emphasized the administration’s continued support for the release of US journalists such as Austin Tice and Evan Gershkovich.
During his April speech for The White House Correspondents’ Dinner, President Biden recognized Austin Tice and his mother, Debra. Tice was detained, according to him, “as a consequence of…showing the world the cost of warIt's simply wrong. It's outrageous. And we are not ceasing our effort to get him, find him and bring him home.”
“After 11 years, there’s simply no more excuse President Biden must match words with action and take every possible step to bring Austin home as soon as possible, and not just for Austin’s own sake. The wrongful detention of a journalist anywhere makes journalism less safe everywhere.
Austin Tice, now 42, is a veteran Captain in the Marine Corps, a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an Eagle Scout, and a National Merit Scholar. Tice was to begin his final year at Georgetown Law School in the Fall of 2012, after leaving to report on the Syrian conflict that summer. His work has been published by McClatchy News, The Washington Post, Associated Press, and AFP, and broadcast on CBS, NPR, and BBC. Tice has received the McClatchy Newspaper’s 2012 President’s Award and the 2012 George Polk Award for War Reporting.
RSF has worked closely with Tice’s family, including his parents Marc and Debra, who have fought relentlessly to bring their son home. Since 2015, RSF has partnered with The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, McClatchy and other media outlets in a campaign to free Tice. To mark last year’s 10th anniversary of Tice’s capture, RSF partnered with the Washington Post for the renewed #BringAustinHome campaign. RSF continues to advocate that the US government make Tice’s case a priority.
Syria ranks 175th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2023 World Press Freedom Index.