Al-Jazeera reporter not heard from in Syria

An Al-Jazeera journalist has not been heard from since she entered Syria on Friday to report on the political turmoil there, the Arab satellite TV station said.

Last Updated: May 03, 2011, 10:37 AM IST

Beirut: An Al-Jazeera journalist has not
been heard from since she entered Syria on Friday to report on
the political turmoil there, the Arab satellite TV station
said.

A regional official of the Committee to Protect
Journalists said yesterday there was "strong evidence" to
suggest the journalist, Dorothy Parvaz, had been detained on
arrival at Damascus airport on a flight from Qatar.
She has US, Iranian and Canadian citizenship, and
formerly was a reporter and columnist for the Seattle
Post-Intelligencer.

"We are deeply concerned for Dorothy`s safety,
security, and well-being," Al-Jazeera said in a statement. "We
are requesting full cooperation from the Syrian authorities to
determine what happened at the airport, what her current
location is, and the status of her health."

Parvaz joined Al-Jazeera in 2010 and recently reported
on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. The station said she
graduated from the University of British Columbia, obtained a
masters from Arizona University, and held journalism
fellowships at both Harvard and Cambridge universities.

Mohamed Abdel Dayem, Middle East and North Africa
program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists,
told Al-Jazeera there was evidence to suggest Parvaz had been
detained at the airport.
"Obviously we are worried for the safety of Dorothy,
specifically, as we are for numerous other journalists who are
in government custody right now," Dayem said.

Some Syrian journalists have been in custody for weeks
as part of an effort by the Syrian government limit media
coverage of the unrest, he said.

Once-unimaginable protests are posing the most serious
challenge to four decades of rule by the Assad family in one
of the most repressive countries in the Middle East.

The Post-Intelligencer quoted Parvaz`s finance, Todd
Barker, as saying he spoke to her by telephone the night
before she left for Syria, and she had expressed no concerns
about travelling there.

Barker and Parvaz`s family issued a statement
appealing for information about her; it described her as a
"global citizen" and a "determined journalist."

PTI