January 22, 2002 - Updated on January 20, 2016

The only satirical newspaper suspends its publication

In a letter addressed to the Information minister, Adnan Omrane, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF – Reporters without Borders) protested against the conditions imposed on the distribution of the satirical newspaper Addomari whose proprietor, Ali Farzat, has consequently decided to suspend the publication. "Nowadays, the authorities are trying to close down by all means the only private satirical newspaper in the country", declared Robert Ménard, general secretary of the organisation. "This newspaper should be allowed to secure its own distribution, without using the state company. Isn't it true that the Syrian law does not demand that private newspapers be distributed through that state company?" he added. According to the information gathered by RSF, the satirical weekly newspaper Addomari suspended its publication on January 21 due to the conditions imposed by the authorities on its distribution. These latter have decided to compel a distribution via the state company to the newspaper which, up to now, secured its own distribution to subscribers and libraries. The state company claimed it would collect 40% on the sales takings and would distribute a number of copies lower than the regular circulation. Since the newspaper does not receive any subsidies, Ali Farzat, owner of the weekly, fears that this new distribution mode will entail heavy losses. Thus, on January 21, he decided not to distribute the last issue of his newspaper, which is usually issued on Mondays. He called on the ministry of Information, pointing out that the law on publications does not impose on private newspapers to be distributed through the State Company. Created in February 2001, Addomari is known for its critics against the power. Already on 19 June 2001 the authorities had compelled the newspaper to suppress two pages in which he was criticising the government. In February 2001, the newspaper was circulating 60 000 copies.