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Syria - Safeguarding of press freedom in Syria a must
January 22, 2014
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Safeguarding freedom of expression in Syria, protection of journalists and a free and independent media sector must be fundamental elements in any political process and settlement, says coalition of international media development organisations.
22 January 2014 - As the Syria peace conference opens in Geneva, international media assistance NGOs call on the stakeholders of the conflict and conference participants to ensure that steps are taken to safeguard media freedom in Syria and to include the development of a free and independent media sector in Syria as an important element of political settlement to the conflict.
Journalists, media activists and other news providers are directly and deliberately being targeted by multiple parties to the conflict and Syria is currently the world's most dangerous country for media workers. As a result, access to reliable information for the Syrian population has been severely constrained.
Members of Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) and other international media assistance groups call on all Syrian and international parties engaged in political and transitional talks and processes to:
- Demand an immediate release of all journalists and others engaged in media work detained by the regime, ISIS or any other group in violation of their right to freedom of expression, - Secure an immediate halt to the intimidation, crimes and abuses to foreign and Syrian journalists, media workers, media activists or media organizations, by any group, in any context, and under any pretext, - Place observance of press freedom, freedom of expression and access to information at the heart of political talks and transitional efforts, - Assure that the future development of a free, strong and independent media sector are integral to any transitional efforts and political talks.