Both The Syrian Journalists Association and Free Syrian Lawyers said that the Syrian regime is still at the top of the list of those responsible for violations and crimes committed against journalists and media institutions in Syria from 2011 until the end of 2022, so that Assad is the enemy of press and the deadliest of journalists in Syria.

In a joint special report on the violations committed by the Syrian regime against the media in Syria, the two associations affirmed that the media professionals have paid a heavy price in conveying the facts and events on the Syrian scene and its developments since the start of the peaceful movement in March 2011, when the regime deliberately targeted them through killing, wounding, arresting and torturing in prisons and other violent ways.

According to the report, which was based on statistics from the Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms at the Syrian Journalists Association, 1471 violations against the media in Syria were documented by various parties from 2011 until the end of October 2022, when the regime was responsible for committing 621 violations, the most severe of which was murdering of 316 media professionals out of 464 have been killed since 2011.

Activating the accountability file and advocating for journalists’ issues

The report added that the violations against workers in the media field in Syria, whether Syrians or foreigners, have made Syria a country at the bottom of the press freedom index issued by the Reporters Without Borders Organization, as Syria ranks 171 out of 180 countries, according to the latest annually classification issued by the organization in 2022.

The report indicated that after more than 11 years have passed since the bloody events in Syria, which affected civilians, including journalists, the families of the victims are still awaiting justice and the activation of accountability roles for the perpetrators of violations against journalists. Therefore, both associations coordinate their efforts to activate the file of accountability and advocate for journalists’ issues.

2013 the most violent year against journalists in Syria

According to the report, the largest percentage of violations committed by the Syrian regime, was in 2013, with more than 142 violations out of 229 violations committed against the media, indicating that the percentages of the number of violations committed in each year separately, compared to their total in the same year. The report indicates a convergence the graph of the violations committed by the regime over the previous years.

According to the Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms, the regime was also responsible for 163 cases of hitting and injury against who works in media, out of 363 cases committed, in addition to its responsibility for 67 cases of arrest, out of a total of 388 documented cases.

In addition, the Syrian regime was responsible for 46 violations committed against institutions and media centers, out of 131 violations that were documented. It also committed 29 other (different) violations, such as prevention of events coverage and work tools confiscation, out of 125 violations committed against the media.

Foreign journalists are also victims

At violations level against foreign journalists in Syria, the Syrian regime was at the top of the authorities responsible for violations against foreign journalists, as it committed 21 violations out of a total of 74 violations committed from 2011 until the end of October 2022.

In addition, the Syrian regime killed 7 foreign journalists, both men and women, between 2012 and 2014, out of the total number of (20) foreign media workers killed in Syria, while doing their jobs such as covering field and humanitarian events.

Al-Assad takes the direct responsibility for violations and crimes against journalists and media institutions in Syria

Free Syrian Lawyers Association

In its comment on the legal side of the report, the Association of Free Syrian Lawyers said that by reviewing the various violations reported, the violations constitute illegal acts, violate the rights of journalists, and violate Syria’s commitment to the Geneva Convention and the First and Second Additional Protocols. Syrian Regime is responsible for these violations. The comment also points out that the Syrian regime must stop this illegal acts and provide the necessary guarantees so that it will not be repeated, and it must also compensate the entire loss that he caused by restoring the situation as it had ever been, or paying compensations.

The Free Syrian Lawyers Association added that, based on the principle of protection afforded to civilians, and the reality of violations, it is clear in Paragraph 5 of Article 85 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1977 that any attack against journalists as civilians or against their workplaces as civilian objects is considered a war crime. In his capacity as the military commander, in addition to the leaders of the military and security agencies, according to Article 28 of is considered a war crime. Bashar al-Assad is considered criminally responsible for crimes and violations committed by the forces under their command and control, whether they contributed, gave an order, incited, assisted, or aided in the committing of the crimes

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