The Assad regime came on top of perpetrators of violations against media workers in Syria in July, according to a report by the Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms of the Association of Syrian Journalists.
In a report issued on Monday, the Center said that the Assad regime committed three violations against media workers, while Russia and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militant group committed one violation each.
The most notable of these violations is the death of a media activist under torture in the prisons of the Assad regime and the death of another one in Russian airstrikes on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in rural Idlib.
The report said that media activist Alaa Nayef Khalidi, known by the nom de guerre Wissam al-Dimashqi, who was born in Homs, died under torture while in the regime’s custody two years after his arrest. Photographer Anas Diab, who was a volunteer with the Syrian Civil Defense, was killed in Russian airstrikes on his hometown of Khan Sheikhoun in July.
The Center said that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militant group released media activist and member of the Association Jum’a Haj Hamdu after he was detained for a week.
According to the report, the Assad regime and Russia’s relentless bombing campaign in Idlib and rural Hama that has been ongoing for more than three months was to blame for the majority of violations against journalists in the past month.
The report pointed to restriction of the media freedoms, especially in the regime-held areas and some areas in Syria’s northwest. The latest figures have brought to 452 the number of journalists who have been killed since mid-March 2011. The victims included 33 journalists who died under torture in the prisons of the Assad regime.
The majority of the July violations took place in the province of Aleppo with three violations, whereas one violation took place in each of the provinces of Damascus and Idlib.
The Center called for respecting freedom of the press; ensuring the safety of media workers; and holding those responsible for violations to account. It also called for respecting article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stresses that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)