Syria

2013


Reports   |   Brazil, Egypt, India, Iraq, Mali, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Syria

Syria, Iraq, Egypt most deadly nations for journalists

The conflict in Syria, a spike in Iraqi bloodshed, and political violence in Egypt accounted for the high number of journalists killed on the job in 2013. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser

This image provided by Aleppo Media Center shows Syrians helping a wounded man from the scene of a government airstrike in Aleppo on December 17. Citizen journalists have been central to documenting the conflict's death and destruction. (AP/Aleppo Media Center)

Blog   |   Egypt, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Syria

Arab journalists need training for civil unrest and wars

Journalists ride in an army soldiers' carrier to the front line during clashes between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition fighters on August 24, 2013. (Reuters/Khaled al-Hariri)

In recent years, Arab journalists have been taking great risks to report important stories in a region where war and civil unrest remain an ever-present threat. Many are operating without proper equipment or safety training in how to recognize and mitigate the various risks they face.

Alerts   |   Syria, Turkey

Turkish journalist abducted in Syria

Istanbul, December 19, 2013--A Turkish journalist is the latest reporter to be abducted in Syria, where approximately 30 journalists are missing, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Bünyamin Aygün, a photojournalist for the daily Milliyet, was abducted in November, but the case was not made public before this week.

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Second worst year on record for jailed journalists

For the second consecutive year, Turkey was the world’s leading jailer of journalists, followed closely by Iran and China. The number of journalists in prison globally decreased from a year earlier but remains close to historical highs. A CPJ special report by Elana Beiser

Turkish journalists protest for media rights in Istanbul on November 5, 2013. Demonstrators proceeded at a rate of one step per minute to highlight the slow process of justice in Turkey. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
December 18, 2013 12:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Syria

Lebanon should overturn conviction of journalist

New York, December 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Lebanese Court of Cassation to overturn the conviction of Rami Aysha, a Lebanese-Palestinian freelance journalist charged with purchasing firearms while he was investigating arms trafficking from Lebanon to Syria.

Blog   |   Syria

Unprecedented response to kidnappings in Syria

In an unprecedented step, more than a dozen international news organizations have signed a joint letter to the Syrian armed opposition about the "disturbing rise in the kidnapping of journalists" in Syria, which has led many outlets to reduce their coverage of the conflict out of safety concerns. The organizations urge the Syrian armed opposition leadership "to assist in identifying those groups currently holding journalists and take the steps necessary to bring about their release."

December 11, 2013 9:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Spain, Syria

Two Spanish journalists abducted in Syria

El Mundo correspondent Javier Espinosa, left, and freelance photographer Ricardo Garcia Vilanova. (AFP/El Mundo/Family Handout)

New York, December 10, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of two Spanish journalists who were abducted in Syria almost three months ago. Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova have been held captive by the Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) since September 16, the families of the journalists announced today.

Blog   |   Afghanistan, Angola, Burma, Cambodia, France, India, Iraq, Mali, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Syria

Training can help journalists survive captivity

Two murdered journalists for the Africa service of Radio France Internationale, Ghislaine Dupont, 51, and Claude Verlon, 58, might have had a chance. They were abducted on November 2 in Kidal in northern Mali, but the vehicle their captors were driving suddenly broke down, according to news reports.

Alerts   |   Syria

Sky News Arabic's journalists latest to go missing in Syria

New York, October 17, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today reiterated that journalists in Syria face unprecedented risks, after Sky News Arabic reported that it had lost contact this week with its crew operating near Aleppo. 

Statements   |   France, Syria

France confirms two journalists missing in Syria

New York, October 9, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the abduction of two French journalists in Syria and calls on all sides of the conflict to stop targeting the press. Nicolas Hénin, who regularly reports for French news magazine Le Point and Franco-German TV channel Arte, and Pierre Torres, a photographer covering local elections, were abducted by an unidentified group in Raqqa on June 22, the French Foreign Ministry said today in a statement.

October 9, 2013 11:59 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Syria

Spanish journalist missing in Syria

New York, September 24, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the immediate release of Spanish journalist Marc Marginedas in Syria. The special correspondent for the Barcelona-based El Periódico was kidnapped by rebel jihadi fighters on September 4 near the city of Hama, the paper reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.

September 24, 2013 5:15 PM ET

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Blog   |   Syria

More hope in Syria as two more journalists freed

Italian journalist Domenico Quirico was released after being held captive for five months. (AFP/Andreas Solaro)

Just two weeks ago, I wrote that the recent escapes of American Matthew Schrier and French-American Jonathan Alpeyrie after months of captivity should give hope to all missing journalists in Syria. We now have two more reasons for hope.

Sunday, the Italian and Belgian governments announced that missing Italian journalist Domenico Quirico and Belgian academic writer Pierre Piccinin were freed. They had been missing for five months.

Alerts   |   Syria, USA

News outlets, Twitter targeted in alleged cyberattacks

New York, August 28, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by cyber-attacks on several websites on Tuesday, including The New York Times, whose site was disabled for several hours. The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group of hackers who support President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, took credit for the attack via its Twitter account. The group also claimed to have attacked the websites of Twitter and The Huffington Post U.K.

Blog   |   Syria

Escapees give hope in cases of journalists missing in Syria

The parents of Austin Tice hold a press conference in Beirut. Tice has been missing for a year. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

It has now been an entire year since Al-Hurra correspondent Bashar Fahmi, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, and freelancer Austin Tice, of the United States, went missing in Syria. But the recent liberation of two freelance journalists held for months gives us some reason to hope.

Blog   |   Egypt, Syria

Animated journalist survival guide looks ahead

The home page of SKeyes' interactive 'Journalist Survival Guide.'

A new English/Arabic online tool is available for citizen journalists who have no previous journalism experience or training but are reporting dangerous frontline stories. It uses animation--a novelty for such guides--and its arrival is timely.

Blog   |   Syria

Attacks on Orient News illustrate Syria's many threats

Obaida Batal, correspondent for Orient News, has been taken hostage in Syria. (Orient News)

It is increasingly difficult to document violations against the press in Syria, let alone hold those responsible to account. It has always been hard to verify facts within the country. But now, the sheer number of violations and the expanding list of violators have become admittedly overwhelming. 

Reports   |   Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Uganda

Journalists in exile 2013

Somalis, Syrians flee violence; Iran crackdown deepens

Fifty-five journalists fled their homes in the past year with help from the Committee to Protect Journalists. The most common reason to go into exile was the threat of violence, such as in Somalia and Syria, two of the most deadly countries in the world for the profession. Others fled the threat of prison, especially in Iran, where the government deepened its crackdown ahead of elections. A CPJ special report by Nicole Schilit

Syrians take shelter at a refugee camp near the border with Turkey. (Reuters/Muhammad Najdet Qadour/Shaam News Network)

Alerts   |   Belgium, France, Italy, Syria

Two French journalists reported missing in Syria

New York, June 7, 2013--Two French journalists covering the Syrian conflict have been reported missing by their employer, according to news reports. The news comes amid reports that two other international journalists missing in Syria since April are alive.

Alerts   |   Belgium, Italy, Syria

European outlets report journalists missing in Syria

New York, April 30, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about the well-being of two European journalists who went missing in western Syria three weeks ago. News reports identified the journalists as Domenico Quirico, a veteran reporter for the Italian daily La Stampa, and Pierre Piccinin da Prata, a Belgian academic and freelance writer, although the accounts did not say if the two were traveling together.

Case   |   Italy, Syria

Abducted Italian journalists reported freed in Syria

The Italian Foreign Minister announced in a statement on April 13, 2013, that four Italian journalists abducted in northern Syria on April 4, 2013, had been released. News accounts reported that the journalists were believed to have been held for more than a week by the rebel group, Jabhat Al-Nusra, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, but the foreign ministry did not immediately confirm the information.

Case   |   Syria

Sky News Arabic crew attacked in Syria

Syrian security forces assaulted and briefly detained a Sky News Arabic crew on Monday, April 8, 2013, according to correspondent Khalil al-Hamlu. In a live broadcast, al-Hamlu said his crew was reporting on a car bomb in central Damascus when Syrian security forces confronted the group. The crew were beaten and detained for a few hours before being released without serious injuries.

Alerts   |   Kuwait, Syria

CPJ condemns effort to silence news coverage of Syria

New York, April 4, 2013--A Kuwait-based Syrian businessman has announced a monetary reward for any individuals who capture and turn over to security forces journalists affiliated with the pan-Arab channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called the announcement a deplorable effort to silence news coverage that is critical to the world's understanding of the conflict.

Case   |   Germany, Syria

German journalist shot in Syria, evacuated to Turkey

Jörg Armbruster, a correspondent for the German public broadcaster ARD, was seriously injured by gunfire during a military clash in Aleppo on March 29, 2013, according to news reports.  After emergency surgery inside Syria on the same day, Armbruster was transferred by ambulance to Turkey, where he was treated by an emergency medical team. After his condition stabilized, he was evacuated to Stuttgart on April 1, according to the ARD subsidiary SWR.

April 1, 2013 1:36 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Syria

Kidnapped Ukrainian journalist reported free in Syria

New York, March 11, 2013--A Ukrainian journalist reportedly held by rebel forces in Syria since October is free, according to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and news reports citing the journalist's relatives. Most news reports characterized Anhar Kochneva as having fled her captors, but few details were reported about the circumstances.

March 11, 2013 5:24 PM ET

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Statements   |   Syria

CPJ welcomes release of journalist in Syria

New York, March 5, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of freelance journalist Billy Six, held by Syrian authorities for two and a half months. Syrian authorities handed Six over to Russian diplomats today who helped him leave the country.

"We are relieved that Billy Six has been released safely and can return home," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. "Our hope is the families of all journalists missing and kidnapped in Syria will soon have reason to celebrate as well. We call on all parties to assist in finding and releasing all missing journalists in Syria."

March 5, 2013 12:04 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Mexico, Security, Somalia, Syria

Do news blackouts help journalists held captive?

An image grab from a YouTube video uploaded on December 18 allegedly shows NBC employees, from left to right, Aziz Akyavas, Richard Engel, and John Kooistra in captivity in Syria. (AFP/YouTube)

At any given time over the past two years, as wars raged in Libya and then Syria, and as other conflicts ground on in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, a number of journalists have been held captive by a diverse array of forces, from militants and rebels to criminals and paramilitaries. And at any given time, a small handful of these cases--sometimes one or two, sometimes more--have been purposely kept out of the news media. That is true today.

Alerts   |   Syria

French photographer killed in Syria's Idlib province

An undated photo of Olivier Voisin. (AFP)

New York, February 25, 2013--A French freelance photographer died in a Turkish hospital on Sunday from shrapnel wounds he received while covering the unrest in Syria's Idlib province three days earlier, according to news reports.

Olivier Voisin, 38, had contributed work to several local and international publications, including Le Monde, The Guardian, and Agence France-Presse. His website chronicles his work from some of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, including Libya, Haiti, Somalia, Brazil, and Kenya.

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Vietnam

Attacks on the Press in 2012: CPJ Risk List Video



CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)

February 14, 2013 12:05 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Syria

Attacks on the Press in 2012: Syria

Conditions for the press deteriorated severely since Syria's uprising began in 2011. The Syrian government continued its media blackout by barring entry to most international journalists and controlling local news coverage. Foreign journalists resorted to smuggling themselves into the country, most across the borders with Turkey and Lebanon, to report on the conflict. Citizen journalists took extreme risks to videotape and document the unrest. Dozens of journalists were imprisoned over the course of the year and some were reportedly tortured in government custody. Local and international journalists were abducted by the government, the rebels, and non-Syrian Islamic extremist groups. Some remained missing in late year. With 28 journalists murdered, targeted by sniper fire, or killed in crossfire, CPJ ranked Syria as the most dangerous country in the world for the press in 2012. Although many of the fatalities were at the hands of government forces, numerous attacks against journalists or news outlets seen as pro-government were attributed to rebel forces, including two explosions at a TV station.

February 14, 2013 12:05 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Syria

Attacks on the Press in 2012: Kenya

In the run-up to the March 2013 elections, tensions ran high among local journalists, who feared a repeat of the violent aftermath of the disputed 2007 vote in which the press was targeted and harassed in connection with news coverage. Several journalists were threatened or attacked throughout 2012 in reprisal for their reporting on official corruption. CPJ found that most of the anti-press episodes took place in Western Kenya. The installation of fiber-optic cable networks drove up the number of Internet users. With its Internet penetration having doubled since 2010, Kenya boasted the highest rate in East Africa. The country also leads East Africa in mobile phone use with 29 million clients, according to International Telecommunication Union data. Kenya continued to be the main regional refuge for journalists fleeing their home countries in fear of attack or imprisonment. Since 2007, at least 52 journalists have resettled in Kenya, but often under extreme hardship.

February 14, 2013 12:04 AM ET

Blog   |   Security, Syria, UK

In Syria, the quandary of freelance news coverage

As Syria becomes riskier for both staff and freelance journalists, news organizations are more reliant on images from citizen journalists. An example is this image showing devastation in Aleppo, which was taken by the Aleppo Media Center and transmitted by The Associated Press on Sunday. (AP/Aleppo Media Center)

Forces on all sides of the Syrian conflict that have tried to censor news coverage through violence have won a round. By sharply increasing the risk for reporters covering the civil war they have forced news organizations to think twice before sending their staff to the battlefields. In a worrying development they even have led a leading UK newspaper, the Sunday Times, for which Marie Colvin was on assignment when she was killed last year in Homs, to refuse photographs submitted by freelancers.

February 6, 2013 10:07 AM ET

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Blog   |   Security, Syria

Humanitarian law, ethics, and journalism in Syria

A Syrian pilot shot down and taken prisoner is interviewed by Al-Jazeera on October 17. (YouTube)

A small number of journalists reporting from Syria have recently interviewed prisoners of war under highly coercive circumstances. In doing so, they have ignored the protections that are due to prisoners under international humanitarian law, or IHL.

Blog   |   Security, Syria

Preparation helps freelancers survive, thrive

The Baba Amr district of Homs in March 2011. (AFP/Shaam News Network)

When the story is so important but the risks are so high, journalists must keep safety at the forefront of their thinking. That's especially true for freelancers who often do not have the support of a large news organization. Preparation, peer networking, and smart planning can help improve the odds of not only surviving hostile situations but succeeding in one's work.

January 24, 2013 11:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Syria

Military correspondent Yves Debay killed in Aleppo

Yves Debay (AFP/Emmanuel Vivenot)

New York, January 18, 2013--An international journalist was killed by a sniper while covering fighting in Aleppo in Syria on Thursday, according to local and international press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on all sides of the conflict to stop targeting journalists and allow them to report freely within the country.

Debay, a Belgian-born French journalist, was based in Aleppo, where he covered clashes between the Syrian army and opposition forces in the city for his online newsmagazine Assaut (Assault), according to news reports. A veteran military correspondent, he contributed reports for the French military magazine Raid, and had written several books about military conflicts.

January 18, 2013 2:18 PM ET

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