National Press Club

Freelancer Austin Tice, detained in Syria, to receive Aubuchon Press Freedom Award

April 23, 2015 | By John Donnelly | jdonnelly@cq.com

American freelance reporter Austin Tice, detained in Syria since 2012, will receive the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award - one of the club's most prestigious honors.

American freelance reporter Austin Tice, detained in Syria since 2012, will receive the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award - one of the club's most prestigious honors.

American freelance reporter Austin Tice, detained in Syria since 2012, will receive one of the club's most prestigious honors.

The club will give Tice a John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award at its annual awards dinner July 29. The Aubuchon award recognizes those whose work has demonstrated the courage that lies at the heart of a free press.

Tice joins Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter detained in Iran, as recipients of the Club's domestic freedom of the press award this year. The club announced Rezaian's award on March 12. The Club also recognizes a foreign journalist annually.

Tice, a freelance reporter, left home for Syria in May 2012 to tell the story of the conflict in that country and its impact on the ordinary people there. His work was published by McClatchy Newspapers, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, AFP and others.

In August 2012, Tice disappeared near Damascus. It still remains uncertain who holds him, but he is believed to be alive and not held by the Islamic State militant group, according to credible sources.

"Austin Tice embodies the best of our profession, and whoever is jailing him represents the worst of the many threats to journalism," Club President John Hughes said. "In giving this award, we want to particularly make sure the world remembers Tice and the other freelancers who often work in dangerous places without adequate support and protection."

Hughes announced the award at the start of a half-day program today at the club to discuss baseline standards for protecting freelance journalists who work in war zones. The club's Journalism Institute, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and the Committee to Protect Journalists are holding the event.

Tice's parents thanked the club for the honor.

"This is an important recognition that both Jason and Austin are being held because of their commitment to gather, record and report the news," Tice's parents said. "With them, we believe that freedom of information and expression is a self-evident unalienable right belonging to every person. We earnestly hope and pray Austin and Jason will be here in July to personally accept this prestigious award."