The FINANCIAL -- The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) calls on all
warring parties in Syria to protect the lives of journalists and to
spare them from attacks and kidnapping, and calls for the immediate
release of all abducted journalists.
According to the PEC data base, at least 25 journalists were killed since January in Syria. Syria has become as dangerous for media workers as Iraq during the period between 2003 to 2006.
The PEC condemns all attacks against Syrian and foreign journalists either by government or anti-government forces. Recent attacks shows that the conflict has further deteriorated in a civil war of a number of parties with many uncontrolled factions and a new phenomenon: kidnapping.
Ali Abbas, head of the Interior in the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), was assassinated at his home last Saturday.
Pan-Arab satellite news channel Al-Arabiya television said that Bara'a Yusuf al-Bushi, a Syrian national and army defector who worked with the station and several other international news organizations, was killed in a bomb attack while covering a story in al-Tal.
The PEC is also gravely concerned by the fate of a Syrian TV news crew kidnapped while covering clashes between the Syrian army and armed groups in the suburbs of Damascus. Reporter Yarah Saleh, cameraman Abboud Tabarah, his assistant Hatem Abu Yehiah and driver Housam Imad were accompanying an army unit when armed men attacked the army vehicle and kidnapped the crew.
Media installations are civilian buildings and must not be attacked, said the PEC. Last week a bomb exploded in the Syrian state television building and lead to the injury of several employees.
Al Alam representative in Homs and another journalist in the city of Aleppo were also kidnapped in recent days.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), and the Islamist group al-Nosra which claimed to have kidnapped him, the state TV presenter Mohammad Sayeed who was abducted from his Damascus home on 19 July, had been killed.
At least 8 foreign journalists were wounded in Aleppo when witnessing the fighting in the city last month.
Ongoing tragic events in Syria take place ahead of contacts in the UN General Assembly in New York and at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to find ways and means to improve the protection of journalists in dangerous situations.
The PEC expresses it's hope that those efforts will unfold quickly in concrete steps to protect journalists.
The perpetrators of the ongoing attacks must not go unpunished.