RSF briefs Human Rights Council about violations of journalists’ rights in Syria
During a UN Human Rights Council debate yesterday in the presence of the Commission of
Inquiry on Syria, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the many violations of
Syrian journalists’ rights and the government’s tight control on news and information, and
called for the protection of Syrian journalists and for combatting impunity.
The oral intervention by Isabel Amossé, RSF’s head of advocacy, during this inter-active debate is appended below:
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) hails the work of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria.
Syria is ranked 174st out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index, aranking that underscores the complete absence of improvements, despite the decrease in clashes.
The military operations in combat zones continue to expose field reporters to grave danger,including death. According to the Syrian Centre for Media (SCM), ten journalists were killed in 2019 and two have been killed since the start of 2020 as a result of bombings in Idlib.
Journalists in areas controlled by the government are not spared human rights violations either. News and information are closely monitored and covering corruption or the economic crisis exposes journalists, even those regarded as government supporters, to reprisals. Critics have continued to be detained arbitrarily in 2020. They include Nada Mashraki, a journalist who was jailed in May and June for “publishing false news” after writing about judicial corruption.
Syrian journalists are even harassed by pro-government activists abroad, as in Malaysia,where Sam Alebrahim, an independent journalist, was attacked in the street by the local branch of the National Union of Syrian Students.
RSF also emphasizes the complete lack of information about the fate of the immense majority of journalists who were imprisoned during the initial years of the war.
RSF calls on Member States and the United Nations’ special procedures to take urgent measures to protect Syrian journalists and to ensure that attacks against them do not go unpunished.