News

October 14, 2019

Turkey poised to expel Syrian reporter working for Saudi TV channel

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns Turkey’s decision to expel Istanbul-based Syrian reporter Zidane Zenglow for trying to cover the Turkish military operations in northern Syria. The expulsion order violates the freedom to inform, RSF said, calling on the Turkish authorities let Zenglow work freely.

A journalist who fled from Syria to Turkey, where he has been working for the Saudi government-funded pan-Arab TV channel Al-Arabiya, Zenglow has been ordered to leave Turkey within a matter of days although the authorities had previously given him permission to report from the Syrian border.

 

This completely arbitrary decision constitutes a restriction on the freedom to inform,” said Sabrina Bennoui, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “Neither a reporting ban nor an expulsion order is justified. There are no grounds for preventing this reporter from doing his job, regardless of the nature of the relationship between the Turkish authorities and the government funding the media for which he works.

 

Reached by RSF, Zenglow said he was in Akçakale, on the Turkish side of the border, when he received a phone call summoning him to a temporary press centre. On arrival, he was told that his reporting permit was being withdrawn “on orders from Ankara.”

 

On his way to his home in Istanbul, Zenglow was ordered to go back to the border area again. There he was questioned about his work for Al Arabiya, whose coverage the Turkish authorities could regard as hostile. He was then handcuffed and detained, and was finally given the expulsion order, of which RSF has a copy. It says he poses a “threat to internal security and public order.”

 

Turkey is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.