4 violations against media in Syria documented in last December
In December 2018:
Four violations documented and the Syrian regime tops those responsible for violations
The Syrian Centre for Journalistic Freedoms of the Syrian journalists Association documented 4 violations against media in December 2018 in Syria.
From the beginning of 2018 till the end of December, the Syrian Centre for Journalistic Freedoms has documented 95 violations against media in Syria and against Syrian media professionals out of Syria. Such a number is considered less than that recorded in previous years.
The fact that clashes and shelling have declined in most Syrian areas, might be the main reason behind the decreasing of violations whether in type, number or variety from one month to another. However, the first quarter of 2018 witnessed a wide-scale systematic campaign of shelling, by the Syrian regime against the eastern Ghouta, which led to a number of violations, let alone the intermittent shelling launched by Syrian-Russian forces. Also, the security chaos in northern Syria played a role in pressuring on media freedoms, and as a result, a number of different violations were committed by some parties.
The last quarter of 2018 witnessed a number of violations similar to that in the second quarter of 2018 whereas the first quarter witnessed the maximum number of violations. The Centre explained the reasons behind such differences in more than one regular published report.
The documented violations in December 2018 varied between arrests and detaining apart from violations against media centres and organizations. December 2018 witnessed detaining of media professional Amjad Katlati, lasted for one day, by Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib on the grounds of criticizing HTS and its government, the so-called salvation government, on social media sites.
The Syrian regime, as usual, continues to pressure on media freedoms in its controlled areas. The Centre documented in December 2018 arrest of media professional Wesam al-Tair as Syrian regime’s security forces raided on the office of Damascus Now network and confiscated its equipment. The Syrian regime’s security forces also arrested media professional Sonail Ali who was released 10 days later. It is worth noting that the fate of Wesam al-Tair is still unknown.
Syrian regime’s security forces raided the office of Damascus Now network, located in Damascus, on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 and confiscated its media equipment. Hence, the network and its pages on social media have been temporarily stopped.
As for geographical distribution, violations focused in regime’s controlled areas. Damascus province witnessed 3 violations while Idlib province witnessed one violation occurred in HTS controlled areas.
It is worth noting that Reporters Without Borders (RSF) classified Syria as the second deadliest country for journalists in 2018 in its annual report published on Tuesday, Dec. 2018. RSF report shows the outcome of violations committed against journalists in 2018 which witnessed no less than 80 killed media professionals, 348 under arrest and 60 kidnapped as hostages. This rise in the numbers reflects an unprecedented level of hostility against media workers.
The report points out that Afghanistan is the deadliest country for journalists in 2018 as no less than 15 killed in Afghanistan. Syria comes second by 11 killed and then Mexico, 9 killed. It is worth noting that the Syrian Centre for Journalistic Freedoms has documented the killing of 15 media professionals in 2018 in Syria; the total number of killed media professionals documented by the Centre since mid-March 2011 till the time of publishing this report has reached 437.
Finally, in December 2018, The Lebanese authority released on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 media professional Abdulhafiz al-Hawlani after arrest lasted more than 3 weeks on the grounds of preparing a report for Zaman al-Wasl newspaper about cases of abortions suffered by Syrian refugees in Arsal camps، The Syrian regime released media professional Amer Diraw who was arrested by the regime’s Information Crimes Branch in Aleppo at the beginning of last August for accusations of communicating with a page of an unknown source that publishes cases of corruptions of several regime’s state officials.
Syrian Journalist Association
Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms