Richard Engel has reportedly gone missing in Syria, with the NBC News foreign correspondent out of touch since last Thursday.
Reports of Engel’s disappearance have come from Turkish news sources, which also note that a Turkish journalist working with Engel, Aziz Akyavaş, has also gone missing. Engel had been reporting on the ongoing conflict between rebels and forces backing President Bashar al-Assad.
News of Richard Engel’s disappearance in Syria have reportedly been blacked out of NBC News. Gawker noted that it had agreed to the blackout for the past 24 hours, but broke the news on Monday afternoon.
Engel’s disappearance has been widely reported in Turkish media, with the newspaper Hurriyet reporting that Engel and Akyavas were last in contact with NBC News on Thursday morning.
With the news also spilling over to Twitter, NBC News had been active in trying to stop reporters from breaking the news blackout.
The network’s Twitter account had been seen asking users who mention the reports to call a cell phone, though Gawker noted that those tweets have since been taken down.
Slate reporter David Weigel was among those tweeting about Richard Engel’s reported disappearance.
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) December 17, 2012
NBC News‘ own David Schuster also made reference to Engel.
Original report from Turkish media… Praying its wrong. RT @sallykohn: My thoughts are with NBC’s Richard Engel, missing in Syria.
— David Shuster (@DavidShuster) December 17, 2012
Such blackouts are common, especially in cases of kidnappings. In 2008, the New York Times maintained a news blackout for several months after reporter David Rohde was taken by militants. It is important to note that NBC News has not commented on David Engel’s condition or location, and there are not reports of a kidnapping.
By Monday afternoon, reports of David Engel’s disapperance had grown widespread beyond Twitter and Turkish media. Chinese newswire Xinhua,Daily Kos, and Breitbart.com all had reported on his supposed disappearance in Syria.