Refusing restrictions on journalism in Autonomous Administration-held areas | Monopoly on press coverage of al-Qamishli's events prompts group of journalists and media professionals to issue statement • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Refusing restrictions on journalism in Autonomous Administration-held areas | Monopoly on press coverage of al-Qamishli’s events prompts group of journalists and media professionals to issue statement

A group of journalists and media professionals have issued a statement refusing to restrict journalistic work in the Autonomous Administration-held areas of northern and eastern Syria. The statement reads: “The Internal Security Forces of the Autonomous Administration, known locally as “Asaish”, prevented the majority of licensed media organizations in northern and eastern Syria from covering the clashes between them and the Syrian regime’s National Defense militias in al-Tay neighbourhood, south of “Qamishlu” al-Qamishli, in a manner contrary to press and media freedom.

Since the beginning of the clashes on April 20, 2021, some Autonomous Administration’s channels and agencies, as well as some activists close to local leaders had a monopoly on media coverage.

Six days after the event, some media outlets were allowed into the neighbourhood in an attempt to evade responsibility and remedy the situation regarding violation of the right of media activists.

These practices contradict the right of access to information in accordance with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as well as article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1962.

These practices contradict the right of access to information in accordance with article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as well as article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1962.

The monopoly of media coverage by media outlets close to the Autonomous Administration, in addition to threats against male and female media professionals by security members, is an inappropriate act for a legal institution such as the Internal Security Forces of northern and eastern Syria.

We, a group of journalists and media professionals, reject these actions and practices, which are contrary to the freedom of media work and condemned and unacceptable, as it contradicts the Autonomous Administration laws that guarantee freedom of the press and the right of access to information.

The restriction on press work that took place recently during the security campaign in Al-Hawl camp late last month, as well as the routine and procedures imposed on journalists before and during media coverage inside the camps, not to mention the marginalization of media professionals and local media, indicates a deterioration of media work’s conditions across northern and eastern Syria.

Considering this approach to media professionals as a negative indicator of the future of media work in our regions, we believe that the Autonomous Administration and its relevant institutions should ensure a safe working environment for journalists while ensuring equal opportunities without any other considerations.

As over two months have passed after the end of discussions on the new media law in the northern and eastern regions of Syria by the various concerned media and journalists at home and abroad, and remained without ratification by the General Council of the Administration so far, we call for speedy ratification of the law and addressing the state of legislative vacuum that creates a fertile environment for violations against journalists and media workers in northern and eastern Syria.”