The parents of Austin Tice held a press conference Thursday in Washington D.C. to ask the United States government, as well as American media and citizens, to do all they can to help get their son home safe.
“We haven’t done enough until he’s home. That will be the ultimate measure,” said Debra Tice, mother of the award-winning freelance journalist who disappeared while reporting in Syria in August 2012.
Austin is alive and not being held by ISIS according to credible sources, but his parents have not heard from him since August 13th, 2012.
With help from the world’s largest non-profit press freedom organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), #FreeAustinTice digital banners will be published pro-bono on more than 267 news websites across the U.S. starting February 16.
The vast collection of news websites who have committed to raising awareness for Austin is unprecedented in U.S. history.
Although Marc and Debra Tice are grateful for the generous support from RSF and other media outlets, they have expressed dissatisfaction with the efforts of their own government, and have a sense that they are on their own.
“There is no agency, no person solely committed to the objective of the safe return of the hostages… It’s appalling to us that no such entity currently exists in the United States government,” Mrs. Tice explained.
“We are Mom and Dad. We are not government officials. We have no legal training. So for us to be expected to take this on is a hugely unreasonable expectation… The family should be able to rely upon the government to put things into motion… That should not fall on me.”
However, they have not given up.
Through relentless effort hunting down and talking with a multitude of representatives from government agencies, the Tices have effectively examined the main gaps in the way the United States is set up to deal with hostage situations like theirs, and expect a new hostage review policy to be crafted this spring.
They attended the first meeting about the new policy on Monday, and said there are somewhere between 70 to 80 different government agencies working together on the hostage review.
Everyone is encouraged to take part in the #FreeAustinTice campaign by taking “The Blindfold Pledge” and signing a petition to President Obama on their website: www.freeaustintice.rsf.org