To coincide with the twelfth anniversary of the Syrian revolution, the Syrian Journalists Association has released its annual report for 2022. The report documents the violations committed against journalists and media institutions, with the Syrian regime remaining the foremost perpetrator of such violations among all actors in the Syrian conflict since 2011.
During the past year, the Syrian Center for Journalistic Freedoms (SCPF), a part of the Syrian Journalists Association, documented 55 violations against media professionals in Syria. This includes two violations committed outside the country, bringing the total number of violations documented by the center in its records since 2011 to 1,476.
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In its report, the Center confirmed that there were no positive developments regarding media freedoms in 2022, as in previous years. Instead, there were multiple violations, the most severe of which was the killing of four media workers. This represents a significant escalation compared to the previous year.
The report states that the second half of last year saw the largest number of violations, with 35 documented, compared to 20 in the first half of the year. August had the highest number of documented violations, with 11, followed by September with ten and February with nine. December only had one documented violation, while no violations were reported in March and April.
According to the Center’s annual report, PYD forces were responsible for the highest number of violations in 2022, with 17 out of a total of 55 documented violations. Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham came in third place with responsibility for 10 violations after being at the top of the list of violators in 2019 and 2020. The regime was fourth on the list, responsible for four violations, after coming in second in 2021.
Last year witnessed the return of the Syrian opposition strongly to the forefront of violators of media freedoms, as it came in second place with its responsibility for committing 16 violations after its absence from the list of violators in 2021.
After being absent from the list of violators in 2020 and 2021, the Islamic State (ISIS) has returned to the forefront and was responsible for two violations against the media in Syria over the past year. The Turkish authorities were responsible for three violations, while the US authorities were responsible for one. The parties responsible for the latter two violations are currently unknown.
The report revealed that from 2011 until the end of 2022, the Syrian regime remained at the top of the list of parties responsible for violations against the media in Syria, with 622 out of a total of 1476 documented violations. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) came in second with responsibility for 166 violations, followed by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) with 148 violations and ISIS with 140 violations. The opposition was responsible for 125 violations, while Russia was responsible for 64 violations.
The report pointed out that the diversity of parties committing violations and the escalating number of violations may suggest that repression is increasing in the areas of the Autonomous Administration, the opposition, and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, unlike the regime-controlled areas. However, it is challenging to document everything that happens in semi-closed regime-controlled areas, so the decline in documented violations may not reflect the actual reality.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.