Receive email alerts News Five men kidnapped Jomaa Musa, also known as the “Joyful Media Activist,” from his home in the Aleppo district of Hanano on 12 November News March 8, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Syria Al-Arabiya TV correspondent Mohamed Saeed Al-Khatib was fatally shot outside his home in the Aleppo district of Hraitan on 29 October by three gunmen, who initially tried to kidnap him. He was shot three times, including one shot to the head.It seems that Khatib, who used to work for Orient TV, was murdered because of the views he expressed publicly about the abduction of three former Orient TV colleagues – Obaida Batal, Hussam and Aboud – outside his home on 25 July. He had known ever since that he was under threat.Syrian news providers are fleeing the country in large numbers because of the threat from the ISIS. More than ten have sought refuge in Turkey since the start of the month. Many of those still in Syria have stopped working for fear of ISIS reprisals.The only media that the ISIS tolerates are those that publish or broadcast the information or communiqués approved by their emirs. In its view, all other media must be silenced and their employees must be killed. November 20, 2013 – Updated on January 20, 2016 News providers abducted, murdered, media premises destroyed as vice closes on Aleppo to go further Organisation Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria Ziad Homsi, a photographer based in the Damascus suburb of Duma who works for Basma and the magazine Henta, was kidnapped on 28 October at a checkpoint north of Aleppo controlled by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) as he was returning from Turkey. Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information At the same time, Reporters Without Borders has noted a marked increased in abductions of Syrian news providers by armed groups in and near the city of Aleppo since the start of November. At least five Syrian citizen-journalists have been kidnapped in the past three weeks.“The increased pace of abductions is extremely disturbing,” said Reporters Without Borders, which published a report entitled “Journalism in Syria, impossible job?” on 6 November. The headquarters of two news media were also destroyed by regular army bombardments last weekend.More than 20 Syrian news providers are currently held hostage while a total of 16 foreign journalists are detained, held hostage or missing.The latest kidnap victim was the citizen-journalist Ahmed Bremo, who was abducted by gunmen in the Aleppo district of Zebdiya on 16 November. March 12, 2021 Find out more Two days before that, around 30 gunmen stormed into the office of the Zaman Al-Wasl news website in Aleppo on the evening of 14 November looking for one of its reporters, Ra’fat Al-Rifaei, and seized some of his equipment when they failed to find him. Rifaei, who has been in hiding ever since, told the site he thought their intrusion was prompted by articles he had written. He added that he had received many threats, especially since the citizen-journalist Abdul Wahhab Al-Mulla’s abduction the previous week. As the regular army intensifies its attacks on Aleppo, it is targeting Syrian media and news providers. A citizen-journalist was shot dead by an army sniper yesterday and two news media were destroyed by army shelling last weekend.Yesterday’s victim was Mohamed Ahmed Taysir Bellou (also known as Mohamed Al-Andani), who was the editor of Al-Shahba TV, a reporter for the Shahba Press agency and the Ahrar Souria brigade’s media bureau chief. An army sniper shot him in the neck as he was covering fighting near intelligence department offices in the Aleppo district of Lairmoon.The two news media whose premises were bombarded by the regular army within the space of 48 hours were Aleppo News Network (or Halap News Network – HNN) and the Aleppo Media Centre.HNN’s offices in Nafiza (in the Sheikh Najjar industrial zone north of Aleppo) were badly damaged when targeted by the regular army at around midday on 17 November. No one was injured but activists said they had intercepted army communications saying HNN had to be targeted “because these information activist dogs are in the building.”Missiles with high-energy explosives were fired at the Aleppo Media Centre in the district of Al-Miyasar on 16 November, destroying the centre and injuring the four people who were inside at the time. They included Fadi Al-Halabi and Mohamed Tayed (both AMC employees) and Hassan Qattan, an information activist. Halabi told Reporters Without Borders that regime supporters had threatened him on Facebook. Meanwhile in Damascus, the independent journalist Omar Al-Shaar was kidnapped from his home in the southwestern suburb of Jaramana on 11 November by government intelligence officials, who took his computer and the computer of his wife, a lawyer. Shaar is a professional journalist who has edited the English-language section of the independent DP-Press News website since 2011. SyriaMiddle East – North Africa Muayyad Sallum, a reporter for Orient TV, was abducted in Tareeq Kastello, on the outskirts of Aleppo, on 1 November. February 3, 2021 Find out more RSF_en News News Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law Abdul Wahab Al-Mulla, a citizen-journalist who is one of the founders of the Aleppo News Network and the Aleppo Reporters Union, was kidnapped by gunmen from his home in the Aleppo district of Hanano on 7 November.A critic of both the Assad regime and armed opposition groups, he hosts a programme called “3-Star Revolution” on the “Halab Al-Youm” (Aleppo Today) TV station, in which he has repeatedly criticized abuses by Islamist groups.
News October 29, 2020 Find out more November 27, 2020 Find out more News The Ivorian press is already in full election campaign although the presidential election initially scheduled for 29 November has been postponed (without a new date so far being set), Reporters Without Borders found during a visit to Côte d’Ivoire last month that included meetings with President Laurent Gbagbo and the staff of many newspapers.Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-François Julliard and Africa desk officer Ambroise Pierre visited Abidjan from 9 to 11 November to evaluate the current media situation and recommend measures to guarantee press freedom ahead of the elections.They urged media executives and journalists to behave professionally and encouraged regulatory bodies to respect diverse political views. They also announced that Reporters Without Borders would monitor the media’s performance during the election campaign, both quantitatively (distribution of airtime) and qualitatively (coverage of each candidate).“The date of the presidential election may have been postponed but the press is already in election campaign mode,” Reporters Without Borders said. “In the run-up to an electoral period that will be delicate and decisive, we urge the media to show more respect for journalistic ethics and to defend editorial independence.” The press freedom organisation added: “We have not forgotten the excesses of the past – including verbal abuse and calls for the ransacking of premises – in both the print media and state television. This must not recur.” RSF_en Receive email alerts Threats against journalists in run-up to Côte d’Ivoire’s presidential election Follow the news on Côte d’Ivoire Côte d’IvoireAfrica Help by sharing this information Organisation Reports The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa News Côte d’IvoireAfrica RSF’s recommendations for protecting press freedom during Côte d’Ivoire’s elections December 9, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “The press is already in full election campaign”: Reporters Without Borders alerts President Gbagbo to go further Diverse but poor quality mediaThe variety of publications in Abidjan is striking but their quality is very uneven. Newspapers tend to run sensationalist stories and often announce “investigations” or “special reports” with little substance. For example, the 11 November issue of the weekly Le Temps Hebdo announced that its next issue would contain an “explosive report” entitled: “Côte d’Ivoire presidential election – What France is preparing for election day. How Paris intends to give power to Ouattara. The fate reserved for Laurent Gbagbo and Konan Bédié.” But the report turned out to contain no credible information.Ivorian officials complained about the media’s poor quality to Reporters Without Borders. “I prefer a press that is mediocre as a result of its own shortcomings rather than outside control,” President Gbagbo told Reporters Without Borders. Communication minister Ibrahim Sy Savané said: “Press freedom is being defended at the expense of quality.”Recognising that the economic environment for the press is difficult, the communication minister welcomed the adoption of a collective agreement that is supposed to help journalists and ensure that a media assistance fund is operational. But the media had a completely different view of this development. Several of them said they had not yet received any state assistance and did not think the collective agreement was workable. Print runs are relatively low – the total number of newspapers being sold nowadays is about the same as the print run of the state-owned Fraternité Matin alone 10 or 15 years ago – and distribution within the country is problematic.Reporters Without Borders was disappointed to confirm in Abidjan that the Press Freedom, Ethics and Conduct Observatory (OLPED) – a unique and interesting experiment in self-regulation – is no longer functioning.Media already in campaign modeUsually described by observers as “poor” or “second-rate,” the Ivorian press is above all partisan. The so-called “blue” press (the dailies Notre Voie and Le Temps and the weekly Le Temps Hebdo) support President Gbagbo and the ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), while the “green” press (the daily Le Nouveau Réveil and the weekly Le Repère) backs former President Henri Konan Bédié and the opposition Côte d’Ivoire Democratic Party (PDCI). The daily Nord-Sud is owned by the allies of Prime Minister Guillaume Soro of the former rebel New Forces (FN) while the daily Le Patriote supports former Prime Minister Alassane Dramane Ouattara and the opposition Rally of the Republicans (RDR). As 2009 draws to an end, the print media are already getting vicious. Shortly after Nord-Sud described Bédié as a “stray dog,” Le Nouveau Réveil responded with the headline “Presidential election: Soro talks crap after his visit to China,” for which it was sanctioned by the National Press Council. While Reporters Without Borders was in Abidjan, Notre Voie had the headline “Bédié sows hate and demagoguery” on 11 November, two days after Le Patriote referred to Gbagbo as the “king of false promises” and accused the FPI of “underhand dealing.”As regards broadcasting, the Ivorian Civil Society Convention (CSCI), an NGO alliance, issued a statement on 1 December condemning the “complete lack of balance in the distribution of air-time among parties and politicians and civil society (…) during the pre-electoral period.” It said the ruling FPI and other pro-Gbagbo organisations were getting “better coverage” on the state-owned TV station RTI. The opposition’s activities “are not sufficiently covered,” said CSCI national coordinator Patrick N’Gouan. The opposition PDCI previously denounced the state media’s takeover by ruling party hacks while the opposition RDR demanded “equal treatment” for candidates. From RTI airtime reports provided by the National Council for Audiovisual Communication (CNCA), Reporters Without Borders was able to establish that in September, for example, the ruling FPI got more coverage than the PDCI and the RDR combined. Another hour or so of airtime was given to movements that support political parties, of which almost all were movements calling for Gbagbo’s reelection such as the Movement of Côte d’Ivoire Teachers who Love Gbagbo Laurent (MICIAGLA), the I Love Gbagbo Movement (MJG), the Fromager Youth Movement for a Gbagbo Victory (MJFV) and Elect Gbagbo in the First Round (GEPTO).Northern media and liberalisation of broadcastingSeveral of the people Reporters Without Borders met referred to the fact that RTI does not cover all of Côte d’Ivoire and that “pirate” radio and TV stations belonging to the former rebels have emerged in the north. On 1 December, the CNCA announced decision No. 2009-07 “putting an immediate stop to all unauthorised television broadcasting in the centre, north and west” and requiring radio stations in these regions “to regularize their legal status within 30 days.” The former rebels immediately rejected the CNCA decision and said their stations would keep broadcasting.When Reporters Without Borders asked President Gbagbo about opening up television to the private sector, he undertook to do it if reelected. “Yes, we will do it, I can assure you, but not now because it is not the right time. First of all, we have to proceed to elections calmly. Opening up television is not possible at the moment because it would definitely lead to excesses on the air. This is too delicate a period. But afterwards, yes, we will do it.”———-The Reporters Without Borders delegation met President Laurent Gbagbo and communication minister Ibrahim Sy Savané; members of the National Council for Audiovisual Communication (CNCA) and National Press council (CNP); the chairman of the board of RadioTélévision Ivoirienne (RTI); the management and staff of Fraternité Matin, Notre Voie, Nord-Sud, Le Patriote, Le Nouveau Réveil, L’Intelligent d’Abidjan and the Olympe press group (Soir Info, L’Inter and Star Magazine); and the campaign staff of the ruling Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) and the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), the party of former Prime Minister Alassane Dramane Ouattara.The meeting with the campaign staff of the Côte d’Ivoire Democratic Party (PDCI) of former President Henri Konan Bédié (now an opposition candidate) was postponed. Reporters Without Borders also met with the spokesman of the Truth for Guy-André Kieffer Collective, the head of the Journalists for Transparent Elections Observatory (OIJET), the head of the political section of the European Commission delegation, and two representatives of the Ivorian Civil Society Convention (CSCI). October 16, 2020 Find out more