World Refugee Day : Syrian journalists, leaving to tell the tale

To mark World Refugee Day, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is today publishing a report about the situation of Syrian journalists who have been forced to flee their country since the start of the Syrian Uprising in March 2011.

Journalist of all kinds – professional and non-professional, Syrian and foreign – run the risk of violence and reprisals throughout Syria. The violence, started by the government crackdown, can now come from any quarter: from government forces, from armed “opposition” groups and from radical Islamist militias such as the Al-Nusra Front and
Islamic State.

professional journalists have been killed

At least 51 professional journalists and 144 non-professional journalists have been killed since start of the conflict in 2011, while around 50 are currently missing or detained arbitrarily in the regime’s many jails or held hostage by Islamic state or other radical armed groups.

And hundreds of professional and non-professional journalists have fled the country because they were exposed to both targeted persecution and the conflict’s extreme violence.Syrian refugee journalistsPDF

Many of them face constant difficulties and continue to fear for their safety in the countries in which they seek refuge. Syria’s borders are easily crossed not only by journalists fleeing violence but also by every kind of predator. Syrian journalists must also often cope with hostility from the authorities in these countries and with restrictions that local legislation imposes on them.

Based in large part on the accounts of many of the Syrian journalists who have fled abroad, this report examines the difficulties they face in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, the countries to which most of them flee.

Analysing the difficulties that they encounter in getting into these countries, the legal restrictions on their rights of residence and movement, the bureaucratic obstacles limiting their ability to work as journalists and the threats and security concerns with which they must live, the report describes how they fight to resume their journalistic activities in exile.

Finally, the report suggests possible reforms that would improve their situation and help them to pursue their battle to inform the international community and their fellow-countrymen.

RSF is today also publishing an overview of its assistance activities in 2015.

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Updated on 17.06.2016