Dorothy’s friends, colleagues call on Syria to free her

Posted on by sbhatt

From coast to coast, friends and colleagues of Al Jazeera reporter D. Parvaz are calling on Syria to return her home safely. Dorothy, or “D,” as she was known to her many friends in the Seattle area, has been missing in Syria since last Friday afternoon, according to Al Jazeera, which has demanded her immediate return.

Today is World Press Freedom Day. It’s time for governments everywhere to release journalists and respect Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Be sure to send a tweet today with #FreeDorothy.

Here’s a copy of a letter AAJA National President Doris Truong and I sent this morning. Feel free to adapt it to your needs and email your own to The more people they hear from the better!

Ambassador Imad Moustapha

Embassy of Syria

2215 Wyoming Ave N.W.

Washington D.C. 20008 USA

                                                                                                                      May 3, 2011

Dear Sir:

We have learned that one of our friends and colleagues, Dorothy Parvaz, has been missing in Syria since Friday afternoon. Al Jazeera reports that it sent her there to cover news and lost contact with the 39-year-old after she arrived in Damascus on a Qatar Airways flight.

By now, the Syrian government is well aware that Dorothy’s family, friends and colleagues are concerned for her safety. We are alarmed by the government’s silence on her status, especially at a time when so many journalists in the Middle East are being killed or attacked.

The disappearance of a journalist should be troubling to all who long for peace. We rely on journalists as honest brokers of information and perspectives. They keep us aware of what is happening on the ground. They are our wise eyes.

Dorothy wrote for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was a member of the Asian American Journalists Association and received fellowships to study at Harvard University and Cambridge University in England.

Today is World Press Freedom Day. The Syrian government has an opportunity to do the right thing. The Director-General of UNESCO put out a statement worth repeating:

“Silencing the media or attempting to intimidate them is an unacceptable assault on the right of citizens to be informed. I call on all countries in the world to respect the right to free expression, as laid down in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the right to freedom of information.”

On behalf of the 1,500 members of the Asian American Journalists Association, we respectfully call on your government to release Dorothy Parvaz and allow her to return safely to her family and colleagues. If she is not in custody, we respectfully ask that you cooperate with the U.S. State Department’s request to locate her. We will remain vigilant in monitoring your government’s actions and reporting on her status.


Doris Truong

National President, Asian American Journalists Association

Sanjay Bhatt

Seattle chapter president, Asian American Journalists Association

About sbhatt

Sanjay Bhatt jumped into journalism in 1996, landing his first job at The Times Leader, a daily in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He juggled covering 12 school districts and loved turning out enterprising, investigative pieces. Within a year, he got hired by The Palm Beach Post of West Palm Beach, Fla., where he spent the next six years building a reputation as a top health reporter. The biggest story he covered there was the 2001 anthrax investigation. In 2003, he joined The Seattle Times, where he has examined public schools, neighborhood issues, the economic crisis and local government. He enjoys producing mini-documentaries, trying new ideas online and learning new technologies. View all posts by sbhatt →
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