Syria: Suspension of Rudaw Media Network 's licence

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria has suspended Rudaw Media Network’s license and blocked its financial aid, claiming it is spreading hatred and misinformation. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has strongly condemned the 5 February suspension and urged the administration to reconsider a decision that seriously undermines media freedom and the right of Syrian citizens to information.

Credits: Rudaw Media Network

According to Rebaz Ali, the Senior Producer of Rudaw Media Network, the authorities claimed the network was spreading hatred and disinformation just days after Rudaw reporters were attacked in Qamishli, northeast Syria , while covering the funeral of 12 members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Rudaw said the statement was a "purely political act, which is not based on any legal basis. Our office has been attacked six times with Molotov Cocktails, ... two Rudaw reporters have been expelled from Rojava and three others have been beaten. And our entire staff have been threatened that they will be killed"

Rudaw headquarters is in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The  Iraqi Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate (KJS) condemned the decision and called on the authorities to stop suppressing press freedom and allow the network to resume its work. 

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ General Secretary said: "We urge the Administration of North and Eastern Syria to lift its suspension of Rudaw's licence and restore the financial aid and let the network and its staff operate freely. Syria needs a free press and the public deserve free and pluralistic media."

The IFJ also urged the Authority to urgently address the fate of journalist Mohammed Al Sagheer who was arrested on 7 June, 2019 in Northeast Syria and sentenced by a military anti-terrorism court to 25 years in jail. In a letter to the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) in December, the federation has urged for the release of the journalist.

For further information contact IFJ Middle East & Arab World on +32 (0) 2 235 22 11

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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