8 violations in June, including the killing of two journalists

Two journalists were killed and six others were injured in June 2017 in different parts of Syria after they were targeted in the course of their media work by various parties, particularly the Assad regime and ISIS, according to the Syrian Center for Press Freedoms in its monthly report.

The documented deaths in June makes the death toll of media activists since the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011 to be a total of 409 media activists killed during the course of their work.

The center confirmed in its report the killing of the journalist Maher Ziad Abu Hamza in Swaida by unknown parties, and the killing of media activist Mehran Kargosli after an Assad warplane launched an air raid on his whereabouts in the countryside of Damascus.

In the same context, the report documented six media activists who had suffered various injuries during the course of their media work. Radwan Rashid Othman, Alaa Abdessalam Mulla Saadoun and Rustam Abdel Qader were all injured in ISIS raids on Raqqa. Furthermore, the report documented the injury of each Shaher Aldroush – in Bab city, east of Aleppo – and Mohammed Fatih Raslan – in Idlib –by an explosion committed by unknown parties. Meanwhile, Assad regime airstrikes targeted media activist Daham al-Ghazawi while covering the battles of Jobar in Damascus countryside.

The report pointed out ISIS was responsible for four violations, and the Assad regime committed two other violations, while the Center attributed the remaining violations to unknown entities.
According to the report, the violations were spread over a number of Syrian governorates. The city of Raqqa witnessed three violations due to the fierce fighting between the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led International Coalition on the one hand and ISIS on the other. Two violations were documented in Damascus countryside, while one violation was documented in each of Idlib, Aleppo and Suweida.

Commenting on this, the Chairperson of the Freedoms Press Committee of the Syrian Journalists Association, Suad Kheba, said: "Despite the decline in the number of violations in general from the previous months due to the low points of engagement and tension, the feeling of insecurity is still dominating all media workers," stressing th continuation of the center as a supervisory body in documenting reality.

On the other hand, the Syrian Press Freedom Center recorded the honoring of several Syrian media institutions. In addition, a number of Syrian journalists received international and Arab media awards during the past month.

The photographer Karam Al Masri won the Knight Award for International Journalism, while the media activist and photographer Issa Ali Khadr was awarded Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press.

Furthermore, the American Newseum museum honored fourteen journalists, including four Syrian journalists who had been killed by ISIS in 2016.

Meanwhile, Our Children Association in Sahara town, west of Aleppo, honoured some displaced media persons.
In its report, the center added that Salafa Lababidi – a member of the Syrian Journalists' Association and works in Radio Rozana – received the second prize in the media competition on migration in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

On the other hand, the Syrian Center for Press Freedoms said in the report that the Turkish judiciary issued a life sentence for the murderer of Syrian journalist Naji Al-Jerf, who was a member of the Syrian Journalists Association and assassinated on Nov. 27, 2015.

At the end of its report, the Syrian Center for Press Freedoms urged for the importance of complying with Article 79 of the Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Convention, which condemns deliberate attacks against journalists and considers them civilians during armed conflict.

The Center also called for respect for freedom of the press, for the safety of media workers and the need to hold responsible those who were behind the violations.

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