Constitutive Statement

Statement of the establishment of the Syrians Journalists Association
Syrians have lived under a totalitarian security regime since the Baath Party took over power in 1963. The result of this regime reflected in that he Syrian media was almost completely absent where most newspapers and magazines were stopped, their property were confiscated and  Syrians were deprived of the right of media and knowledge. The  outcome of this shift in the lives of Syrians was causing damage  to the Syrian media professionals  and  journalists, who were placed in one of three tracks : some of them withdrew from the profession, some were excluded while others were domesticated and assimilated into the tactical media institutions of the new regime represented by some tactical-propaganda newspapers and limited publications in addition to the radio and television.   
Syrian journalists have suffered from a spilt where a few of them lived abroad and many inside. While  many journalists were living abroad in  normal professional life conditions and succeeding due to the objective surrounding circumstances, most of the journalists inside faced difficult situations in their daily and professional lives as a result of general circumstances in the country ruled by emergency law and martial rules and because of their career which does not gain the respect and care of the regime, in addition to the reality of media institutions , which do not have the appropriate administrative and professional standards for development of media professions and its employees.  
Journalists and journalism were marginalized in Syria . When the regime turned to address their deteriorating situation, they got organized within the framework of a bureaucratic organization called the Journalists Union in the mid-1970s. The union’s main objective was to control the media employees and subject them to the control and service of the regime. For decades, corrupt directors of institutions, thieves and agents of the security apparatus were brought to the Journalists Union, and they took advantage of the powers and privileges of the authorities and stole the resources of the union.

The official Syrian Journalists Union due to its sensitive role was under  ys more security monitoring starting with the appointment of the union president and staff and ending in membership, which is subject to the worst types of bureaucracy, including the failure of the union to issue cards to participating journalist and limiting the working membership, which includes the use of the journalist's rights to employees in government institutions.
But the worst thing about the work of the Union is its absolute bias against the repression practiced by the regime against peaceful demonstrations since its inception, and even trying to justify it through the emergence of the president of the union on satellite channels and silence on preventing the press and the independent media from reaching events sites to cover the truth , as well as the deliberate neglect of all what the journalists are subjected to, from humiliation, torture, arrest and repression in documented cases that exceeded 200 cases.
Until the moment of drafting this statement, several Syrian journalists are still in prisons including those who are forbidden to travel, some of whom are threatened and harmed, and those who are forcibly removed from their country for fear of arrest. While the role of the union is limited to it being an archive of information about journalists used by the security services to further tightening on them.
In this context, Syrian journalists recorded a number of testimonies describing the reality of what is happening in Syria. Several of them withdrew from the Syrian Journalists Union in protest against their bias towards the regime, and several attempts were made to form a body that gathered journalists and defended their rights, which did not succeed due to many reasons, most importantly the departure of many journalists from Syria, voluntarily or forcibly, and the preoccupation of many of them with following up the events and covering them first- hand.

The reality of the media professions, the reality of the Journalists Union and the needs of Syrian journalists and media professionals were pushing
for the birth of a professional union organization to include workers in these professions. The revolution of freedom and dignity, which the Syrians started in 2011, has made this task necessary in the light of the alignment of many media journalists inside and outside the country to the side of  the revolution and their involvement in its ranks and activities, and covering and analyzing what surrounds the revolution from the data and developments.
The establishment of the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA) comes as a result of interaction with the movement of the Syrian people, an expression of solidarity with it and participation in the revolution against the authoritarian security regime. It is also an expression of siding with the choice of civil institutions that the regime of despotism emptied and turned into bureaucratic institutions subordinate to the security apparatus.
Today, these attempts are being organized in one contract where Syrian journalists announce a new body, the Syrian Journalists' Association, to take the desired role in accordance with its rules of procedure.

With its announcement and formation, its members invite all Syrian journalists to join their association and take their part in it.
SJA is a free association, open to all Syrian journalists and those like them including the stateless and the Palestinians who were born or reside in Syria. It includes journalists inside and outside Syria, taking into consideration the historical and current circumstances and the revolution. We, the signatories, have decided to launch our initiative to establish the Syrian Journalists Association based on the following considerations:
The Syrian Journalists' Association is considered an independent democratic assembly committed to the contents of the Syrian revolution for freedom and dignity and to a democratic, pluralistic state that provides justice, equality, freedom and the rule of law to all its citizens without discrimination. Tha Association is governed by this framework in its interest, work, internal relations and in its external relations with other bodies inside and outside Syria.

The association is a professional and trade union organization, headquartered in Damascus, and can have branches in any country where there is a gathering of ten or more members. The association is open to professionals in print, written and audio media and in the electronic media inside Syria and abroad. Membership of the association shall be accompanied by a professional practice document from the institutions in which the candidates worked for or at the suggestion of three founding members of the candidate in the transitional period.
The Association takes upon itself the task of pursuing the development of the media environment in cooperation with other parties in the future state and the society from the constitutional and legal aspects and in the field of practice for a wider area of freedoms for the media and the public, , and undertakes to assist and support the development of public and private press and media institutions in Syria working in accordance with the objectives of the Syrian people for freedom, dignity and the democratic state.
The association emphasizes the concept of pluralism on which the Syrian society is based and the need to open the door to its constituents to express their creative selves and to celebrate the languages used by the components of the Syrian people such as Arabic, Kurdish, Assyrian, Turkmen and other languages.
The statement was signed by more than 100 Syrian journalists and media professionals including:
Fayez Sara, Ahmad Hassou, Bassam Ja'ara, Salma Karkutli, Iyad Sharbaji, Amer Matar, Hussein Darwish, Omar al-Assaad, Ghassan Ibrahim, Ibrahim al- Yousef, Ghalia Qabbani, Omar Edelbi, Ibrahim al-Jabin, Hussam al-Din Mohammed, Maysa Akebik, Wael al-Tamimi, Alia Mansour, Mahmoud al-Zaybq, Farhan Matar, Lava Khaled, Khwla Hassan al-Hadid, Ghassan al-Mufleh, Mas'ud Aku, Kandah Qanbar, Anas Damiriya, Islam Abu Shakir, Oroba Barakat, Nisreen Trabulsi, Maher Sharafuddin, Mohamed Fattouh, Ibrahim Mari, Hafeez Abdul Rahman, Fadwa Kilani, Moayad Skif, Abdullah al-Muksour, Malik Abu Khair, Mahmoud al -Kilani, Refat Abu Assaf, Karim al- Afnan, Muhieddin Esso, Laila Safadi, Samir Matar, Kholoud Hadeq, Zina Erehem, Amer Daoud, Adnan Farzat, Nart Abdel Karim, Hassan Ezzat, Zina Bitar, Sami Habil, Suhail Nizamuddin, Basil Abu Hamda, Faten al-Hammoudi, Ahmed Daddoush, Aqba Al-Ahmad.
Damascus on February 20, 2012

The association was officially registered in accordance with the French Associations Act No. W751220283 on 6 July 2013.