Head prosecutor in the Damascus countryside Nadal Shubat said untrained and unlicensed journalists could face up to six months’ imprisonment if they do not obtain credentials from the media ministry.
According to local media, Shubat said that under Article 3833 of the penal code those people practicing any profession without the right to do so could face possible prison time.
He added that the media profession was legally regulated by government bodies and journalist unions and does not permit those of other professions to practice it without obtaining a degree in media.
A captain in the anti-counterfeiting and forgery branch, Khalid al-Satam, said that 23 arrests were made in 2015 for “misdescription,” including nine of official misdescription, while 26 others were suspended.
He continued that the number had decreased in 2016 to 14 arrests and nine suspensions.
Since the start of the Syrian revolution, many citizen journalists have taken on the task of informing people of the latest developments in the region, to document facts and transmit information to counter the official media versions of events.
Activity in licensed media institutions has declined, which has led in turn to people practicing the profession individually far from the eyes of the government, especially those on the opposition side.
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.