Most Significant Violations against Media Activists in May 2014

may-media-freedom2As the Syrian crisis continuously escalating, the void of the media scene in Syria are getting bigger where the media field is losing daily substantial components and activists which is reflecting negatively on the freedom of journalism and truth. The vital and functional role of media activists (whether they were journalists or civilians) is undeniably important to collect, deliver, and publish information and help Human Rights groups in documenting violations regardless of its type or perpetrator.

The media activists are still facing considerable risks and paying huge prices to fulfill their duties. On the other side, violations against them are being perpetrated without the slightest form of accountability as they are being, almost daily, killed, arrested, kidnapped, lost, or forcibly disappeared with the only thing they can do is to disappear or escape from this dreadful reality to protect their own life or seeking a better life especially with the tough living conditions in Syria in light of the ongoing armed conflict and crude war.

All of this was more than enough to terrorize the media activists and the people around them. Being a media activist in Syria is considered one of the most difficult and dangerous jobs. In most cases, the punishment affects also their families and beloved ones which is why the media activists’ families abstain from telling if he was arrested or died under torture inside the detention center, and especially if the Syrian regime was involved. Our team noticed the high level of secrecy in many cases where media activists are victims of arresting, torturing, or killing in the Syrian regime’s areas and especially in the major cities (such as Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, Tartus…) out of fear of the prisoner being killed or to avoid any retaliatory actions against their beloved ones. This also the case in the ISIS-held areas in Ar-Raqqa and some areas of Der Ezzor and Aleppo countrysides.

Also, the media state in the Kurdish areas is not any better; the mentality of oppression and freedom suppression is becoming obvious as there are many cases of kidnapping, threatening, burning the homes of media activists, expelling them, and prohibiting some of them from practicing their work under the pretext of lacking the permit to do so.

Today, the weapon of media (written, audio, or video) has become one of the most dangerous weapons that every armed faction, including the Syrian regime, its allies, and ISIS is fighting.

SNHR affirms the necessity of taking serious and immediate actions and condemns all the violations against media freedom and truth-covering regardless of the involved parties and its kind or magnitude. SNHR also stresses the importance of respecting media work, insuring the safety of those who are working in that vital field, and paying them special consideration. The perpetrators of violations against journalists, activists, and media activists must be brought to justice and the International Community, represented by the Security Council, should shoulder its responsibilities to protect the civilians in Syria.