Syria: ‘no-mans land’ for journalists

Mostapha Zarou

Published: Updated:

Journalists in Syria have been deliberately targeted by both government forces and rebel groups according to the latest report released by Amnesty international on World Press Freedom Day.

At least 36 journalists have died in the conflict since the 2011 uprising began.

The report entitled “Shoot the messenger: Journalists targeted by all sides in Syria” documents abuses carried out by Syrian authorities and armed opposition groups.

“Syria is currently one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists. Our report documents cases that show violations, such as arrests, killings, harassment, forced disappearance and hostage taking are widely spread. The killing is only from one side, the situation of journalists and media activates is dire” said Nour Albazaz from the Syria research team at Amnesty.

The London-based organization discussed in detail the crucial role citizen journalists are now playing on the ground.

Many of them have risked their lives to make sure information from within the country reached the outside world.

Like their fellow professional reporters, citizen journalists have faced reprisals from all sides involved in Syria’s war, which has prevented them from carrying out the job the originally set out to do.

The human rights groups said violations along with deliberate attacks on journalists and media personals may amount to war crimes.

“This is World Press Freedom Day and we wanted to use this opportunity call on all sides of the Syrian conflict to respect the laws of war and consider journalists as civilians, protect them and avoid targeting them in any way,” Albazaz said.

The Syrian authorities continue to target, arrest and torture journalists despite the fact that the state of emergency law was lifted in March 2011, along with the introduction of new decrees which supposedly allow for greater freedom of expression.

Now there is barely any news organization which has a correspondent that is actually based in Syria and is covering the conflict.

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