Free Press for Syria: Join the campaign

Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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By Alexandra Zakreski At last week’s CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, we took a moment to honour each of the journalists who have been killed so far in 2013. As the list of names from Syria appeared, the crowd was shocked to see just how many had lost their lives in the world’s deadliest country for reporters. At last year’s Gala we honoured Syrian journalist Rami Jarrah with an International Press Freedom Award for his courageous work sharing news from the country. Jarrah now continues his defense of free expression in Syria with a new initiative promoting a free press and safe climate for journalists working in the country. Once a citizen journalist working on the ground in Syria, Jarrah ensures Syrian voices continue to be heard around the world through ANA New Media Association. CJFE, ANA New Media Association, and several Syrian media organizations have signed on to a joint appeal in support of press freedom by Free Press for Syria, the full text of which can be found below. Journalists and media workers in Syria need the support of the international community now more than ever. The country has been deemed the most dangerous in the world to be a journalist by Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists. More than 100 media workers have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in the spring of 2011, over 60 have gone missing, and the numbers continue to climb. Free Press for Syria calls for an end to the crimes and abuses against journalists and media workers in the region. The group also stresses the role of the media as a third party, apart from either side of the conflict, and their right to free expression.

Support the campaign to help journalists working in Syria


DEMANDING AN END TO THE CRIMES AND ABUSES TOWARDS JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA WORKERS IN SYRIA

On October 1st, forces from the armed group the “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) raided Radio Ana offices in Raqqah. On October 15th, they raided the office a second time, taking possession of all radio and communications equipment. This example of abuses against the press shall not remain unnoticed, nor should it be considered as an isolated case. The “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) is targeting the newborn independent Syrian press in a deliberate strategy to crush press freedom and to impose a renewed and constant censorship upon the Syrian people. We, the undersigned, Refuse any form of intimidation against journalists, citizen journalists, media activists or media organizations, by any group, in any context, and under any pretext. Press freedom and freedom of expression are inalienable and universal human rights. Any abuse against these universal rights must be condemned and opposed. We call on the whole Syrian civil society, its political institutions and its media groups, to take relevant action to expose these practices, to oppose them, and to protect the media from these dangers. We demand the immediate release of all detained journalists and citizen journalists held by the regime, ISIS or any other group. Additionally, we call on international media and those organizations in support of press freedom to join this initiative and to take relevant action for the safety of journalists and freedom of speech in Syria. Sincerely, Advox Articolo21 ASML Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Committee to Protect Journalists FIDH FOCSIV Freedom House Free Press Unlimited Front Line Defenders Hivos International Media Support International Federation of Journalists International Press Institute Reporters Without Borders Rory Peck Trust Samir Kassir Foundation
Alexandra Zakreski is CJFE's International Programs Assistant

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