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Creation of first independent journalists’ union against a background of repression

first_imgNews February 3, 2021 Find out more to go further RSF_en SyriaMiddle East – North Africa News Reporters Without Borders welcomed the creation of Hurriyat (Freedom), the first independent media watchdog in Syria on 9 May 2005 and urged the authorities to officially recognise it.”Hurriyat could play a key role in the liberalisation of the media and the decriminalisation of press offences which we have been demanding for years,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.The new centre has been founded by a number of journalists and human rights activists, such as cartoonist Ali Farzat, writer and political commentator Michel Kilo and lawyer Anwar Bunni. “Since the promulgation, in September 2001, of a new press law, the Syrian authorities have stepped up a crackdown on the media. Recent events confirm this total control of the press and the need to create a Syrian press freedom organisation such as Hurriyat,” Reporters Without Borders said.The latest incident of censorship was on 11 May, when the May issue of the privately-owned financial monthly al-Mal (Money) was seized for dealing with sensitive issues. They included an interview with the former finance minister, Issam Zaïm, headlined, “The new direction of the link of the Syrian pound to the dollar is worrying”, a letter sent to President Bashar al Assad by an entrepreneur whose business was seized by the ruling Baath Party in the 60s and an article about corruption in the private sector.In another case, the Syrian authorities halted a series of four programmes about the Syrian press put out by US Arabic-language television al Hurra (The Free One). The day after the first programme was broadcast live from Damascus on 19 April, al-Hurra announced that it was cancelling the rest of the programmes following “harassment” of its team in the capital. On the first programmes guests freely discussed “press legislation and the red lines not to be crossed”.Elsewhere, on 5 May, a defamation trial opened against journalist and writer Hakim Al Baba after he wrote several articles criticising Imad al Shuaibi, a doctor of political science known to be an unofficial government spokesman. The complainant is seeking five million Syrian pounds in damages (around 100,000 dollars).The Syrian secret services have already several times summoned al Baba who regularly writes articles in various Arabic newspapers, using humour to criticise the Syrian political system. Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria Help by sharing this information Follow the news on Syria Receive email alerts Reporters Without Borders welcomed the creation of Hurriyat, the first independent media watchdog in Syria on 9 May 2005 and urged the authorities to officially recognise it, against a background of repression. The May issue of the privately-owned financial monthly al-Mal was seized for dealing with sensitive issues. In another case, the Syrian authorities halted a series of four programmes about the Syrian press put out by US Arabic-language television al Hurra. Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law March 12, 2021 Find out more Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists SyriaMiddle East – North Africa News News March 8, 2021 Find out more Organisation May 12, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Creation of first independent journalists’ union against a background of repressionlast_img read more