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Journalist Dorothy Parvaz Released - May 20, 2011

May 21, 2011

Former Seattle P-I journalist Dorothy Parvaz is released by Iranian authorities. Parvaz was missing for 19 days after travelling to Syria on April 29.

Related Link: | Dorothy Parvaz: Inside Syria's secret prisons

Producer's Notes

Producer's Notes It’s a Dangerous Job, but Someone’s Gotta Do It

Dorothy Parvaz is back home in Vancouver, B.C. She’s safe and sound, and apparently not too traumatized from her 19-day ordeal in Syria and Iran. Parvaz went to Syria on April 29th to cover protests, and was detained as a suspected spy. Three days later she was deported to Iran where she was held incommunicado for another 16 days. After interrogating her at length, the Iranian government determined she was, in fact, a journalist working for Al Jazeera English and released her.

In Syria, Parvaz was blindfolded, handcuffed and moved from cell to cell. While she wasn’t beaten, she heard others being tortured and was treated more than gruffly. In Iran, Parvaz says she was treated as well as could be expected – that her room was clean, her interrogator polite, and that she was given medical treatment when needed.

Parvaz is lucky. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York based non-profit, there are 145 journalists being held on trumped up charges in prisons around the world. The group says Iran and China are the worst when it comes to imprisoning journalists. Many have been held for years on end.

But getting locked-up is the least of an international journalist’s worries these days. Dozens are killed every year. Some when they’re sent on a dangerous assignment to, say, a war-zone. But according to CPJ, a stunning number are outright murdered because of their news reporting. Since 1992, CPJ has counted 862 journalists killed. 546 of them – 71% percent – were murdered. 90% of the murders went completely unpunished.

And they say crab fishing in Alaska is a dangerous job.

Dorothy Parvaz is home safe. We can thank goodness for that. But we really ought to be thanking her, and the countless other journalists covering news in places like China, and Burma, and Afghanistan, and Iran, and Syria. They are risking their freedom and literally putting their lives on the line. It’s dangerous work with little pay and even less glory, but they do it anyway.

Thank you, Dorothy. Everyone at KCTS is happy you are safe, and grateful for your work.

Ethan Morris, Senior Producer