Freelance journalist James Foley is currently missing in Syria after being kidnapped six weeks ago.
Foles family formally announced his abduction yesterday. According to witnesses, Foley was taken by unidentified gunmen on Thanksgiving Day in Idlib. The northwest Syrian province in known for it’s turbulent activity, the area was the same province that NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Richard Engel was abducted from last month. Engel and his team were released December 18th.
Foley’s condition is currently unknown. His family has released a statement pleading with his abductors to return him home.
“We want Jim to come safely home, or at least we need to speak with him to know he’s OK.”
This isn’t the first time that James has encountered trouble while reporting abroad. The AFP contributor spent 44 days in captivity after being captured by pro-Qaddafi fighters in Libya in 2011.
According to GlobalPost, these were the circumstances of Foley’s capture:
“Foley had set off toward the border in a car about an hour before his capture. A witness, a Syrian, later recounted over the phone to a journalist in Turkey that an unmarked car intercepted Foley. The witness said men holding kalashnikovs shot into the air and forced Jim out of the car.
The witness said he noticed nothing that would indicate whether the aggressors were rebel fighters, individuals looking for a ransom, members of a pro-government militia, or a religious-based group with other motivations.”
Gawker’s Adrien Chen learned of Foley’s disappearance while reporting on Engel’s disappearance, and had withheld reporting on the fellow journalists disappearance at the request of his family, and the GlobalPost. GlobalPost spokeman Rick Byrne disclosed:
“This is a difficult and dangerous situation. We request that you don’t make public any information you believe you have regarding James Foley because it could put lives in jeopardy.”
The media “blackout” on Foley’s disappearance has since been lifted, and now more than ever it is important to make awareness of his disappearance global.
What do you think about the media blackout on Foley’s disappearance? Is it justified even though it means it will take more time to find him? Let us know in the comments below!