The Syrian Al-Ayyam newspaper attacked the Damascus Governorate and “those who stand behind it,” because of their decision to send the governorate police to close and seal the newspaper’s offices “immediately”.
In an article published on Oct. 21, 2018, the newspaper said the move was “a dangerous game, and without a doubt a shameful picture of the extent of disdain this troubled country has for the press.”
The headline in the issue published today said, “Absurd decision by Damascus Governorate to close and seal Al-Ayyam offices: When enemies of the press hide behind the law!” and signed by “Al-Ayyam.”
In its article, the newspaper offered a complete account of the details of what occurred, including the friendly meeting on Thursday with an official from the al-Mahajireen municipality, which is the authority for the area where the office is located (al-Malaki), and the agreement that the officials would consult the Damascus Governorate for the “necessary measures” on Sunday to settle the status of the headquarters, in residential and “intellectual” terms.
However, the governorate and “those who stand behind it,” did not wait until Sunday, as they hurried to act hours after the official left, at the end of the official shift for the last day of the week, with the aim of preventing the newspaper from getting the chance to break the seal and resolve the closure issue before issuing this week’s edition.
However two respected figures, the police and the civil service, understood the reality of the situation, and gave space for the newspaper to act and to stop what it called “abnormal and shabiha behavior against national media.” A “wise and expected” decision came from the head of the government, who “rejected this dangerous overreach,” and stopped the decision for the closure, as the newspaper put it.
Al-Ayyam closed its article by noting that the Damascus Governorate and some elements had woken up after years of “suspicious silence” about violations in the same area in which the headquarters is located after receiving “orders from a high level.” The same area is filled with “violations,” at their forefront the real estate office, whose owners have turned it into a place for prostitution with the knowledge of the governorate, which has not moved a finger, as well as the auto offices which illegally spill out onto the pavements, and the national radio offices. Despite these violoations, they only saw the violations of Al-Ayyam.
The newspaper finished by openly protesting the behavior of the Damascus Governorate, and prodding the Ministry of Information itself, saying that it “had in its offices and halls those who love to complain about errors with licenses, with the aim of silencing the truth and shutting up journalists and the press … at its forefront Al-Ayyam, who seem to be attacked because they are carrying out their tasks with full professional trust.” It expressed its “regret” that the body authorized to maintain the right of expression is “the same one which is provoking us without batting an eyelash.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.