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Reporters Without Borders expresses concern over attacks on Syrian government media and their staff

Last modified: 14 Aug 2012 23:34

Reporters Without Borders have sent a letter to Free Syrian Army commander Riad al-Asaad and the Syrian National Council president Abdulbaset Sieda expressing concern over "increasingly frequent attacks on government media and their staff".

The organisation says that while drawing attention to "the Assad family’s tight grip on news and information in Syria for the past two decades" and "forcefully condemning the attacks on foreign and local journalists, both professional and netizen, by the Assad regime’s troops and militias since the start of the uprising," it has also "been registering a growing number of violations of freedom of information by the anti-government forces in recent weeks".

"The employees of Syria’s pro-government media are becoming the targets of abduction and murder with increasing frequency," the letter said.

"The Islamist group Al-Nosra announced on 3 August that it had executed Mohammad Al Saeed, a TV presenter who was kidnapped from his home in mid-July. Syrian government TV cameraman Talal Janbakeli was kidnapped in Damascus on 5 August by the Free Syrian Army’s Haroun Al-Rasheed militia.

"A crew working for Al-Ikhbariya, a privately-owned pro-government TV station, was captured by another FSA unit on 10 August. According to the information currently available, one of its members is now dead, while his colleagues have been forced to make on-camera "confessions.

"Ali Abbas, a journalist with the government news agency Sana, was killed at his home in the Damascus suburb of Jdaidet Artouz on 11 August. The premises of several government or pro-government media have also been the targets of bombings since late June.

"Several foreign journalists have told us they were the targets of death threats from opposition groups. Some were kidnapped by small jihadist groups. Such practices sadly resemble those used by the Assad regime against opposition journalists."

Reprters Without Borders urged the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council to "publicly condemn these abuses and to carry out the necessary investigations".