WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The National Press Club and its network of more than 2,600 members and partner organizations organized a 5K run last weekend to bring attention to the case of journalist Austin Tice, who is being held hostage in Syria.
“Hundreds of runners from across the United States and around the world ran thousands of miles over the weekend to call attention to the case of Austin Tice — the only U.S. journalist currently being held hostage overseas,” said Jen Judson, 115th President of the National Press Club. ‘No U.S. journalist has been held hostage longer than Austin Tice – not even Terry Anderson of the Associated Press. Austin was taken in August of 2012 and has been held for more than 10 years. Despite significant efforts by his family, the NGO community and the U.S. Government, he is still not free. We need efforts like this run to raise public awareness and focus the press freedom community and others on Austin’s situation and what they can do to help,” Judson said.
“On May 2 President Biden met with Austin’s parents Debra and Marc Tice in the Oval Office. Present at the meeting was the leadership of the National Security Council. The President directed the NSC to contact the Syrians, meet with them, listen to what they had to say and work with them to bring Austin home. Although the U.S. government has represented to the press that those steps have been taken and such meetings have been held, that is not the case. The last significant meeting between the U.S. and the Syrian side was in September 2020 during the Trump Administration. At that meeting the Syrians outlined areas of interest they would like to discuss. They also offered a proof of life for Austin Tice, according to Texas Monthly magazine quoting sources present in the meeting. The United States government never followed up on the points of interest the Syrians raised with meetings or negotiations. The US Government never communicated to the Tice family that the Syrians had offered a proof of life for Austin. Clearly, the government is not yet doing all it can in this case.” Judson said.
Runners laced up their shoes and came out to run in 22 states for Austin. There were significant clusters of runners in Texas and in D.C. Through Reporters Without Borders there were runners in Paris and Stockholm and Istanbul. The run was virtual. Participants included journalists, government officials, non-profit activists, academics, students, veterans and others. The first runner to cross early Saturday morning finished a half-marathon for Austin – more than 13 miles. Families ran together. It was an extraordinary effort to free Austin Tice. The run raised more than $10,000 to be used to help support the Tice Family effort to bring him home. This was the second year the run has been held.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club’s 2,600 members represent nearly every major news organization and include Austin Tice among them. The Club is a leading advocate for Press Freedom worldwide.
Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club
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SOURCE National Press Club