The family of freelance reporter James Foley have ended a six-week silence and are appealing for his release in Syria. When last seen, the 39-year-old, Boston-based Foley was being taken away by armed men in the province of Idlib on November 22, 2012.
Foley has been working for Agence France-Presse, one of the three major news services. Beginning in April, 2011, Foley spent 44 days in a Libyan prison with two other journalists.
The agency has had no communication about Foley’s whereabouts or safety. No ransom demand has been received, no videos posted, no news released about Foley from any group in Syria.
It is standard operating procedure among news agencies to put a blackout on news about abducted journalists. It is believed that if the abduction receives no media attention, the journalists will be released unharmed as Richard Engel and his crew were last month. But the blackout protocol usually results in some news being received about the journalist.
Foley’s parents, John and Diane, who live in Rochester, New Hampshire, have set up a Facebook page and a website for collecting signatures to appeal for Foley’s release. The site is www.freejamesfoley.org.
Twenty-eight of the 121 journalists who died in the field in 2012, did so in Syria.