Mustafa Abdul Hassa, a 28-year old former correspondent for Shaam News Network, was executed by Islamic State militants, his former employer confirmed to the Committee to Protect Journalists, following the release of a video showing his murder. The video also shows the killing of four other Syrian journalists and media workers.
As of December 1, 2015
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Najjar, a TV presenter and online reporter, died on April 16, nine days after he was injured in a car bomb that detonated at the headquarters of several local rebel groups in the town of Marea, press freedom group SKeyes and local news outlets reported. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Najjar was taken to Turkey after the April 7 attack, but died from his injuries, which included a fractured skull.
Najjar, who was known among his colleagues as Abu Yazan al-Halabi, grew up in Kuwait, but returned to his native Aleppo at the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011. In 2012, he began working as a correspondent for the Shaam News Network, a Syrian opposition news website, where he reported on local news, including civilian life and military battles. He also started working as a press officer for a small rebel brigade in Aleppo, which was led by his uncle and was one of the targets of the April 7 bomb. He quit the job in May 2014, according to Ayman, a media activist in Aleppo who asked that CPJ use only his first name to protect his identity.
Najjar joined TV channel Aleppo Today in early 2015. He was on assignment for the channel the day the bomb exploded, according to Ayman; Omar Hafez, a photographer at Aleppo Today; and Mohammed Sufil, a producer at Aleppo Today, who spoke to CPJ. Najjar was at the rebels' headquarters to interview a military commander for a new TV show, called "Face-to-Face," which he would host on the channel.
Sufil told CPJ that the station had sent Najjar to the rebels' headquarters, where his connections would have helped him get an interview. Due to Najjar's death, "Face-to-Face" never aired.
Shaam News Network published a YouTube video of Najjar's funeral on April 17.
In its new series, "Supporting journalists at risk," CPJ profiles journalists who have been in dire situations as a result of persecution for their work. CPJ's Journalist Assistance program has helped these journalists, and hundreds of others, through a combination of financial and non-financial assistance.
In this edition, CPJ looks at Zakwan Hadid, a 29-year-old Syrian journalist from Idlib, who fled to Turkey after receiving death threats from militants and opposition groups in connection with his reporting. Today, Hadid works at a radio station in Istanbul.
For the third year in a row, Syria ranks as the deadliest country in the world for the press, research by the Committee to Protect Journalists shows. At first glance, the research offers good news: less journalists were killed, imprisoned and kidnapped this year in Syria than in 2013. A deeper look at the numbers and how we arrived at them however, show Syria has never been more dangerous for journalists.
At least 370 journalists have been murdered in direct connection to their work from the beginning of 2004 through 2013, according to CPJ research. In 333 of the cases, no one has been convicted. In 28 cases, some suspects have been sentenced, or killed in the course of apprehension, but others believed to be connected to or to have ordered the crime remain free. Nine cases have reached complete justice, meaning all of the perpetrators, including the crime’s mastermind, have been convicted. CPJ maintains detailed records on journalists killings from 1992 to the present. For additional information, please visit http://cpj.org/killed.
Ibrahim, a correspondent for the independent Shaam News Network and a freelance reporter, was killed in Tel Abyad, a Syrian town north of the city of Raqqa, on May 4, according to Shaam and the Beirut-based SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom. Ibrahim was kidnapped by the Islamic State militant group (then called Islamic State in Iraq and Sham) in March, two months before his death, according to news reports and local press groups. His family received his body on May 7, 2014.
A loose coalition of rebel forces captured almost the entire city of Raqqa in March 2013, according to news reports. Since then, Islamic State pushed out other rebel groups and began exerting increased control over the city. By the time of Ibrahim's killing, Raqqa had become the group's de facto headquarters for the vast terrain it controlled.
Ibrahim had reported widely on the presence of Islamist militants in Raqqa in the months before he was kidnapped. His reports included coverage of Islamist militant groups who he said had imposed taxes on Christians and who he said had prevented aid from being delivered to the city.
As part of his work for Shaam News Network, Ibrahim also appeared on the opposition-based TV channels Syria al-Hur and Syria al-Ghad. He also worked for an online campaign called "Raqqa is being slaughtered silently," which posts news and photos of events in Raqqa and has criticized the harsh rule imposed by the Islamic State.
Abu Ibrahim Ar-Raqqawi, a Raqqa citizen who runs the campaign, told the Wall Street Journal that Ibrahim was killed because Islamic State militants caught him with material belonging to the campaign.
Ar-Raqqawi told CPJ that he and Ibrahim would meet in secret repeatedly to share news and information for the campaign because Islamic State had placed media restrictions on journalists covering Raqqa.
Islamic State has imposed restrictions on independent voices and journalists, according to CPJ research. Since the group came to power, it has kidnapped many journalists and raided numerous media centers. Islamic State has also ordered journalists and media workers to pledge allegiance to the group, according to the Syrian Journalists Association. As a result, journalists have fled territories controlled by the group, submitted to self-censorship, or continued their work anonymously at great risk.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.