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US broadcast board to Syria: Release journalists

Monday - 8/27/2012, 2:53pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Broadcast Board of Governors is calling on Syria to release immediately two captured journalists who work for one of its television stations.

Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cuneyt Unal work for Springfield, Va.-based Alhurra TV. They had been covering the violence in Aleppo when they disappeared Aug. 20.

In a statement Monday, the board of governors says Syrian television broadcast a video of Unal describing himself as part of an international militant force. The board added that the Turkish foreign minister says Unal was forced to make the statement, which was dictated to him.

Michael Meehan, the chairman of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and a member of the broadcast board, calls the video "deeply disturbing" and says it "underscores the perilous situation for these journalists."

The Broadcast Board of Governors is funded by Congress and runs several broadcast networks for foreign news, including the Voice of America and Radio and TV Marti, which broadcasts to Cuba.

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