AANES requests security studies for journalists in Deir Ezzor

From the media office of the Autonomous Administration in northeast Syria - January 11, 2023 (AANES)

From the media office of the Autonomous Administration in northeast Syria - January 11, 2023 (AANES)

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The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), the political umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has requested conducting security studies for journalists working in its controlled areas in Deir Ezzor.

A source from Deir Ezzor Civil Council, who preferred to remain anonymous, revealed that the media office affiliated with AANES asked them to conduct security studies for anyone involved in the media or photography field, as well as those who possess cameras.

The source informed Enab Baladi that there are 65 individuals whose names have been requested for security studies, noting that the request came from the SDF spokesperson, Farhad Shami, without an official letter.

The source explained that the request for security studies follows a decision issued at the beginning of November, which stipulated the punishment of anyone working for an “unlicensed” entity.

After the decision, activists and journalists (working with “unlicensed” media outlets) informed each other about the need to exercise caution and take necessary precautions.

On November 5, AANES threatened to hold journalists accountable if they prepare news reports for “unlicensed” media outlets in its areas.

It stated that journalists who produce media materials in a manner not specified by the media law exposes themselves to legal accountability.

It added that some journalists work for media outlets that are not registered or licensed by the administration, and the journalist or the media institution did not inform the media department about the materials they are working on, which is considered “a violation of the law.”

There have been repeated cases of journalists’ and media workers’ arrests by the SDF in northeastern Syria, including the arrest of the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) members of the Baz Agency in al-Hasakah governorate, and the closure of their office there.

In a previous interview with Enab Baladi, the director of Baz Agency in Germany, Suleiman al-Nasser, stated that the SDF had arrested the director of the agency in Syria, Ahmed Ajour, the journalist and editor Mulham Ma’ishi, and a new trainee who was only known by his first name (Nidal). Following that, on September 2, the legal director of the agency, Marwan al-Sheikh Issa, was also arrested.

In July 2021, AANES issued a statement denouncing accusations from international human rights organizations and media organizations of violating journalists’ rights in its areas of influence, describing them as “campaigns aimed at targeting the administration and distorting the facts.”

The statement at the time emphasized that the freedom of media work, in all its forms, is protected by a modern law issued by the Media Department in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.

 

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