A new addition to the Newseum’s facade in the nation’s capital is the latest effort to bring missing journalist Austin Tice home.
On Wednesday, the journalism museum unveiled a 10-foot-tall banner on the front of the building featuring a photo of Tice and the phrase “Held captive for being a journalist since August 2012.” The banner also urges viewers to sign an online petition asking President Barack Obama to take actions toward Tice’s release.
The banner, which faces busy Pennsylvania Avenue, provides “unprecedented visibility” for the missing journalist. It was a collaborative effort among the Tice family, the Newseum and Reporters Without Borders, a journalism advocacy group with headquarters in France.
“The unveiling of this banner will serve as an opportunity to call public attention to the threats faced by members of the press around the world,” said Jeffrey Herbst, the president and CEO of the Newseum.
“We encourage all gathered here to join the campaign,” Herbst continued, referring to the hashtag #FreeAustinTice featured on the banner.
In her remarks, Debra Tice, the journalist’s mother, stressed how “precious press freedom is.”
“This banner, hanging on this building, is a bold and significant reminder that journalists must be protected,” Tice said. “We call on Austin’s captors to reach out and make it clear how we can resolve this situation and get our son safely home.”
Tice, who contributed to McClatchy, The Washington Post and other outlets, was seized in Syria. Aside from a video posted on the internet in September 2012, there’ve been no sightings of him. Yet Reporters Without Borders thinks Tice is alive and was not captured by the Islamic State, which executed American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff two years ago.
Currently, Tice is the only American journalist being held against his will in the world.
Tice’s parents met with Obama this July, and they have been outspoken in asking that the president use “every appropriate and possible diplomatic opportunity” to ensure their son’s release before Obama’s term ends in January.
Sophie Ota: (202) 383-6131