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Union calls for action on missing journalists John Cantlie & Austin Tice

16 April 2019

Despite recent indications they may still be alive, more than six years after they were first seized, British and American journalists John Cantlie and Austin Tice are still missing.

The National Union of Journalists in the UK and Ireland (NUJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have renewed calls on the UK government not to forget John and to make every effort to find and free the journalists. The IFJ has also called on the American authorities to do the same for Austin.

John Cantlie is a photojournalist from Hampshire. He was captured by the so-called Islamic State (IS) in November 2012, together with the reporter James Foley who was subsequently beheaded. He was last seen in a propaganda video released by IS in 2016.

Austin Tice is an American freelance journalist who collaborated among others with the US McClatchy news organization and The Washington Post. He disappeared in August 2012, when he was captured at a checkpoint in Syria. 

In both cases, there have been hopeful signs in the past few months.

The UK Home Office declared in February that John Cantlie was still alive, without releasing any further information.

In December Austin Tice’s parents held a press conference to announce they had information that bolstered their confidence that their son was alive.

The IFJ expresses its solidarity and support for the missing journalists and their families.

IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said:

"We call on the British, American and Syrian authorities to make every effort to find them and bring them back safe as quickly as possible. This should be considered a priority given their detention constitutes a grave violation of human rights."

Tags: , syria, ifj, america, government uk, government us, journalist safety