RSF Raises Alarm Over Safety of Syrian Journalists Facing Deportation

RSF Raises Alarm Over Safety of Syrian Journalists Facing Deportation

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a grave warning on Tuesday regarding the safety of Syrian journalists residing in neighboring countries. The organization expressed concerns that these journalists are at heightened risk of arrest and deportation back to Syria, where they face the threats of imprisonment and death.

In a joint statement with the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, RSF highlighted the escalating dangers facing Syrian refugee journalists in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. The statement emphasized that the warming diplomatic relations between Bashar al-Assad and the leaders of these neighboring nations have exacerbated the risks. The organizations cautioned that Syria remains perilous for media workers, a situation unchanged despite shifting political landscapes.

“Despite their different political contexts, the four countries have adopted measures to justify the deportation of Syrian refugees, often under the guise of voluntary return,” the statement read. “No provisions have been put in place in these countries to protect Syrian journalists against whom arrest warrants have been issued in Syria from falling into the trap of arrests and deportation.”

Jonathan Dagher, head of RSF’s Middle East desk, underscored the persistent fear that haunts Syrian journalists in these countries. “Syrian journalists living in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey live in constant fear of arrest and deportation,” Dagher said. “If returned to Syria, one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, they face imminent arrest and even death.”

Dagher called on the governments of these countries and the international community to provide urgent protection and guarantees for Syrian journalists. He stressed the necessity of ensuring that they are not forced to return to Syria, where the regime continues its persecution.

Ibaa Munther, coordinator of the media and freedoms program at the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, echoed these concerns. “Syria remains unsafe,” she stated, pointing out that journalists there face risks of arrest, kidnapping, and murder. Munther urged Syria’s neighboring countries to fulfill their responsibilities toward Syrian journalists who have sought refuge, providing them with protection and refraining from forcibly returning them to Syria, where their lives are in peril.

The dire situation is reflected in the latest press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders, which ranks Syria 179 out of 180 countries. The report highlights the grim reality for journalists, according to recent statistics, more than 390 journalists have disappeared, detained, imprisoned, or abducted since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, with at least 468 killed and 396 maimed. Deportation to Syria could mean disappearance, kidnapping, or death for many journalists.


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