Violations against journalists and media workers continue in Syria which is classified as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) said that it registered the names of at least 695 Syrian and foreign journalists who have been killed across Syria since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.
In a report released on Friday marking the World Press Freedom Day, the Network said that the Assad regime killed 546 journalists, including five foreigners, while the Russian forces killed 20 journalists. The ISIS extremist group is responsible for the death of 64 journalists, including three foreigners.
The monitoring group noted that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militant group killed seven media workers, while the PYD militia killed four others. Airstrikes by the international anti-ISIS coalition forces killed one journalist, while 28 others were killed in attacks that the group said were untraceable.
The Network also added that at least 1,166 journalists and media activists have been kidnapped and detained since March 2011, 421 of whom remained in detention or were forcibly disappeared. The figure includes four female journalists and 18 foreigners.
According to the report, two female journalists and four foreigners are still detained by the regime, while 48 others, including one woman and eight foreign journalists are still held by the ISIS group. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham still detains three journalists, including one foreigner.
The Network called on the UN Security Council to contribute to combating impunity by referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and exert serious efforts to reach a political solution through a political process leading to a transition towards a democratic state.
The report also called on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to condemn the targeting of media workers and highlight their sacrifices and suffering. It urged the UN Commission of Inquiry to launch a serious investigation into the targeting of media activists given their vital role in recording events.
The Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms of the Association of Syrian Journalists said it had recorded five violations against journalists and media activists across Syria in the past month.
Syria ranked 174th in the world in terms of press freedom as journalists continue to be murdered and subject to tough restrictions, the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said in a report it published on April 18.
In its 2019 Press Freedom Index, the watchdog said that the fear machine is working at its full potential, severely undermining the practice of journalism in calm condition.
The 2019 World Press Freedom Index showed how hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear. The number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)