With every day goes by, new violations are being documented against media activists regardless of the party that committed these violations. Media work has become one of the most dangerous professions in Syria, especially with the rapid escalation of the armed conflict over the past three years, and the increasing width of the conflict grounds.
Although the Syrian regime is still the most party, in quantity and kind, to commit violations against media activists, this does not change that fact that there are other armed groups that have committed similar acts (whether it supports the Syrian regime such as PYD, Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups such as ISIL, or other armed groups). These violations are spreading more with the time, and representing a notable and serious obstacle to the free independent media work.
We would like to mention that these crimes have become less over the past two months (February and March 2014), particularly after the ISIS’s withdrawal from several regions and centralizing in Ar-Raqqa and few towns in Aleppo countryside, still this can be considered a positive indicator apparently for several reasons that we listed in previous reports, however we will list the most significant reasons as a remainder:
Most of the media activists have left the regions controlled by the armed groups, especially ISIS-held regions.
Quitting media work and choosing the silence option after the difficult price that was to be paid, which was in some cases death or abduction (there are still tens of abducted media activists, in addition to the many that have been killed such as Mohammad As-Saeed, DyabHajoula, and others).
Some of the media activists had to join some armed factions and work for them in order to gain protection, this of course had its negative impact on the independent media work.
The researcher in media affairs at SNHR Huda Al-Ali says:
”it’s critical for any form of free and independent media to grow and develop away from the leverage of weapon and violence, so it can play its role as one of the civil society organizations in addition to the important role that it supposed to play in the ongoing Syrian conflict of collecting and sending information, and contributing in documenting the violations and crimes of all the conflict parties impartially, accurately, and honestly. This is the healthy environment that the Syrian media scene are lacking today”.
SNHR affirms that it condemns all the violation against any form of media work and truth-revealing by any part however the kind or magnitude was, also SNHR is seeking to ask all the parties to respect media work and work on insuring the safety of those who works in the media field, and to hold anyone involved in the violations against journalists and media activists accountable. Additionally SNHR emphasizes the necessity of serious actions on the civil society organizations’ part to apply pressure on the Syrian government and armed groups and to stop it using proper means.