Exclusive interviews | Female journalists in Idlib face many difficulties and obstacles
Female journalists and media activists in Idlib are facing many difficulties and obstacles during their work, the most of which are restriction imposed on them by Hayyaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), in addition to other difficulties, including the society’s negative attitude towards them and prevention from appearing in public.
As freedom of expression has become a source of fear for journalists, a journalist known by her initials as S.A. who was expelled from the southern countryside of Idlib to the countryside of Aleppo, in the areas controlled by pro-Turkey factions. The woman told SOHR “I was exiled by HTS to the northern countryside of Aleppo after I was displaced to Idlib city for a year, as I expressed my discontent with the spread of corruption in the institutions of the “Salvation Government”. I only used my personal Facebook page to shed light on corruption stories. As a result, I received many threats of kidnapping and arrest from HTS loyalists. Later, I was arrested at a checkpoint at the entrance to the city of Idlib, after which a man handed me a paper to attend a session in Sharia court, and I would be punished if I did not attend. When I went to the court, I was sentenced to be exiled to the northern countryside of Aleppo under the pretext of incitement against HTS. I am so sorry for restricting the work of female journalists in northern Syria.”
Another journalist known as M.A. managed to overcome the society’s negative perception towards female journalists through her work in this field for about eight years. Dueing her career, M.A. was able to contribute to show reality, despite restrictions preventing her from appearing and practicing her job in public. The woman shared her experience with SOHR, saying “at the beginning of the uprising in Syria, I worked under a fake ID, and I struglled with the great opposition by my family, the customs and traditions in our region, which prevented women from appearing on media and publishing photos of them. Later on, I was able to convince my family and adapt to the society. However, female journalists still suffer from restrictions on their work, although ten years have passed since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, during which many female journalists could appear in public and excel in this field.”
While the activist D.A. from the southern countryside of Idlib, believes that the difficulties she faces in her work in journalism are not only limited to restrictions by the factions, but also the fact that the society belives that the women’s role is confined to taking care of her house. that The woman said “what has encouraged me to stand up for my career as a journalist is my belief in the importance of what I do to show the world the real situation on the ground. The absence of laws that protect the female journalists’ rights or lack of a cover for their activities on media disturbs their work greatly in northern Syria. Accordingly, female journalists find it so difficult to move and work freely, not only for fear of being prosecute by the controlling party, HTS, but also by anyone adopting opposite attitudes, including regime affiliates and ISIS cells.