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SDF Tightens Censorship of Journalists in Northeastern Syria

According to a circular from the Autonomous Administration, media workers need an official authorization to operate, Syria TV.

The Media Department of the Autonomous Administration has released a circular, warning journalists about potential legal consequences should they report on behalf of unlicensed media organizations or without prior authorization.

According to the circular from the Autonomous Administration, which operates within the areas under the control of the SDF, it states that “any journalist who produces reports and media content for outlets other than their official capacity, without obtaining prior S from their institution and sending a corresponding authorization to the Media Department in advance, is in violation of the law.”

Journalists in Syria Victims of Violations in Different Areas of Control

The statement emphasizes that journalists who fail to comply with these requirements “may face legal consequences and will be subject to the provisions of media laws and their associated regulations.”

Despite the Media Law in the Autonomous Administration, which prescribes penalties ranging from warnings to fines of up to one thousand dollars and temporary suspension of journalists for a week, it has come to light that the administration has, in the past, exceeded these boundaries by imposing two-year suspensions on journalists and permanently revoking licenses of certain media outlets.  

Monopoly on media work and restrictions on journalists 

Journalist Hossam Saeed (using a pseudonym) has criticized the recent circular, stating, “It appears to be aimed at legitimizing the control over journalistic activities and imposing constraints on journalists in SDF-controlled regions through legal means.”

He went on to explain that “journalists naturally have the right to collaborate with multiple media outlets based on their contracts with these organizations. They should also have the flexibility to switch between different platforms within a month. However, the requirements imposed by the Autonomous Administration appear to be limiting the freedom of journalists and obstructing their ability to work, all under the pretext of failing to obtain proper authorization and prior approvals.”

According to Saeed, journalists have faced various violations throughout the year, including arrests, work suspensions, and the refusal to renew their journalistic assignments. These actions are often justified by allegations of violating laws or producing reports for media outlets that the SDF deems forbidden.

Critics have accused media officials within the Autonomous Administration of monopolizing journalism for the benefit of production companies and journalists affiliated with them for political and financial gains while sidelining those who do not share their loyalty.

Journalists in Raqqa, Hasakeh, and Deir-ez-Zor have informed Syria TV that “the Autonomous Administration has rejected their requests for freelance assignments, claiming to have suspended the issuance of such tasks. Additionally, some have reported that the conditions required to obtain these assignments are unreasonably challenging, coupled with an annual fee of $300.”


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.

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