The United States is offering a reward of US$1 million (S$1.3 million) for information about Austin Tice, an American journalist missing in Syria since 2012.
The FBI announced the reward this week, without any explanation on the timing. “The timing of this reward is unrelated to any specific event,” an FBI spokeswoman said.
Tice, 36, is believed to the only American journalist currently held in Syria, one of the most dangerous countries for the news media in recent years.
A freelance journalist working for McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS, AFP and other news organizations, Tice was abducted in August 2012 near Damascus.
Tice’s family has launched several appeals for information about his whereabouts, saying they believe he is still alive.
In 2016, a #FreeAustinTice banner was attached to the facade of the Newseum, a museum focused on news media and located on the street linking the US Capitol and the White House. The banner is still there.
An FBI statement on its website said it would offer the reward “for information leading directly to the safe location, recovery, and return” of Tice.
The agency created an email address firstname.lastname@example.org and said anyone with information could also use the website tips.fbi.gov or contact any US consulate.
Reporters Without Borders, a media rights group which has worked with Tice’s family, welcomed the US move.
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