One Media Professional Killed and Opposition Groups Are Still Persecuting Journalists

The Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms of the Syrian Journalist Association, which is assigned to monitor and document violations against journalists, citizen journalists and media centers in Syria, documented the occurrence of 9 violations during May 2016. This included the death of media professional Muayad El Jerq due to the explosion a bomb planted in the roadside of Damascus countryside. Thus, increasing the total killed media professional number since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011 to a total of 339.

Al Jazeera reporter, Jalal Soulaiman, was also wounded by a shrapnel explosive barrel by the Syrian Regime air force in Homs countryside. The regime forces have also targeted the journalists Abu Rayan and Hassan Al Omari with gunfire during a reporting duty in Hama countryside. Other journalists were also exposed to multiple cases of harassment and threats aiming to impede their journalistic activities. One particularly noteworthy case was the kidnapping of the journalist Hussein Al Sino in Darbassiya, in Hasaka governorate countryside by elements of the Asayish division of the Democratic Union Party, which announced its self-administration in the governorate.

The Islamic army has also issued manhunts against media professionals in Eastern Ghouta, where the journalist Anas Al Khawly has been living and hiding for a time now and where another journalist Alaa-Al Ahmad has been the target of a defamation campaign and accused of treason. Additionally, media centers have been subjected to obstruction: offices of the Smart agency situated in Aleppo and the Latakia countryside have suffered substantial damage due to exposure of bombing by the Syrian Regime forces. Last but not least, this month witnessed the release of 3 Spanish journalists who have been kidnapped in Maadi district of Aleppo 10 months ago, as well as the release of reporter Mustafa Al Asmar, who was also detained for more than a month by the People´s Protection Forces unit in Aleppo countryside.

The center has also witnessed the killing of armed journalistic activists, who, due to the escalation of military operations, suffered from psychological pressures that altered their behavior and consequently, manifested a nature that was contrary to their own.

The Syrian Center for journalistic freedom expresses its earnest appreciation towards the media activists for their work, some whom played a fundamental role in the documentation of committed violations against journalistic rights but who have successfully drawn attention to the key distinctive features between armed people and journalists, to the development of a self-made criteria when the criteria established by the center, as attached in this report, are lost or unavailable. On the other hand, the Syrian Freedom Center for Journalistic Rights couldn´t document the violations committed against Syrian women media professionals due to the complications of the field work in Syria, and the work on guaranteeing the security of media professionals there in conjunction to hold all perpetrators accountable.

The center urgently calls for various parties, institutions, and international stakeholders to effectuate the international laws for the protection of journalistic rights, and to hold legally accountable perpetrators who have been directly involved in the transgression of journalistic rights and to work concomitantly for the protections of journalists and the right of information diffusion in Syria.

The Syrian Center for journalistic freedom
Syrian Journalistic Association

May 2016 PDF