Journalist arrested in city controlled by Syrian government
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the latest press freedom violation in a Syrian government-controlled region, the arrest of Nada Mashraki, a journalist based in the port city of Latakia, on a charge of publishing false news.
Mashraki, who edits Latakkia News Network (LNN), a Facebook news page with more than 180,000 subscribers, has been held since 25 May, when her personal Facebook page, with more than 40,000 followers, became inactive. Her husband, who helps her run LNN, was also arrested.
According to the Snack Syrian news website, which obtained a copy of the report of the judicial investigation into Mashraki, she is accused of “publishing false news to undermine the prestige of the state and insulting the judiciary” in a story about judicial corruption that is now deleted from LNN.
The subject is highly sensitive at the moment because the Syrian government has launched a series of economic reforms, including measures to combat corruption, with the aim of addressing the civil war’s financial and social consequences.
“Nada Mashraki’s case is another example of how corruption and the economic crisis are kept off limits for Syria’s journalists although they are a real concern for the population in this war-torn country,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “Journalists in government-controlled regions have to choose between saying nothing or being accused of undermine the country’s prestige.”
Mashraki was also detained for a few days in 2017 for covering corruption-related issues.
Syria is ranked 174th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.