Calls Increase To Free Dorothy Parvaz, Reporter Being Held In Syria

May 5, 2011

Al-Jazeera English is calling on the Syrian government to free one of its reporters, Dorothy Parvaz, who "was detained upon arrival in Damascus [last Friday and] ... has had no contact with the outside world since."

Parvaz's friends and colleagues are also spreading the word and upping the pressure on Syrian officials, with a #FreeDorothy campaign on Twitter and a Free Dorothy Parvaz page on Facebook.

One of her friends, MSNBC's Winda Benedetti, writes that Parvaz:

"Is one of the few foreign journalists who have attempted to enter Syria to cover what's happening there.

"What is happening there? Protesters are standing up to a violent authoritarian leadership. Troops are rounding up hundreds of people and taking them away. Innocent people are being killed.

"These are the things conscientious journalists care about. These are the things Dorothy cares about."

Parvaz worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for about 10 years, and is a U.S., Canadian and Iranian citizen. Iranians do not need visas to visit Syria and she was reportedly traveling on her Iranian passport when she was detained. That country's foreign ministry has also weighed in, asking the Syrians to explain why she's being detained. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit