May 11, 2011
DOHA — Al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvez, missing since she arrived in Syria late in April is being held in Tehran, the Doha-based television channel said on Wednesday.
“We have now received information that she is being held in Tehran. We are calling for information from the Iranian authorities, access to Dorothy and for her immediate release,” said an Al-Jazeera spokesman in the statement.
“We have had no contact with Dorothy since she left Doha on April 29 and we are deeply concerned for her welfare,” said the news channel.
Parvez’s family also urged Dorothy’s release. “We appeal once again for Dorothy to be released immediately and returned to us,” her family said.
Parvez, who holds American, Canadian and Iranian passports, joined Al-Jazeera’s English service in 2010.
Syrian pro-government daily Al-Watan on Tuesday quoted what it said was “a well-informed” source as saying that “the journalist Dorothy Parvez, aged 39, left Syria on May 1 without stating her destination.”
“The journalist left Syria after authorities forbade her entry on account of her using a tourist visa when her material showed she had come to Syria to cover” the uprising.
“Upon refusal of entry, the journalist asked authorities to let her leave Syria, which she did on May 1,” according to the source quoted by Al-Watan.
Coverage of demonstrations has been tightly controlled in Syria since the outbreak of protests in mid-March.
Syria has accused Al-Jazeera and other satellite channels of exaggerating protests across the Arab world and of broadcasting images without verifying their authenticity.
Because few foreign journalists can get into Syria, international media rely heavily on video footage filmed and released by the protesters themselves on Internet sites such as YouTube.
The International Press Institute on Friday called on the Syrian authorities to clarify the whereabouts of Parvez, whom the IPI said had not had time to get a Syrian visa, and was probably travelling on her Iranian passport.