Syria: Authorities in north-eastern Syria close Kurdistan 24 offices

On 20 June, the Media Department of the Autonomous Administration of north and east Syria ordered the closure of broadcast news station Kurdistan 24 in the region and revoked the media's license. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) denounces the muzzling of the press and demands the immediate lifting of the ban.

On the day the Media Department took its decision, security forces of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) forcibly closed the regional office of Kurdistan 24 in Qamishli.

According to the region’s authorities, Kurdistan 24 is responsible for inciting violence and spreading hate speech, as well as for promoting conflict among the Kurdish community. However, no evidence has been provided to support the allegations and the decision to close and revoke the media's license. The media assures that it "has reported on the situation in Rojava impartially and professionally" and denounces a violation of press freedom.

The closure took place without warning and no information was provided on its duration. The Media Department of the Autonomous Administration previously cancelled Kurdistan 24's licence to broadcast in the region in September 2019, before reversing its decision a few weeks later.

The forced closure of  the media comes in a context of tightening control over journalists and media by the Autonomous Administration. On 16 June, the authorities violently arrested and detained Kamiran Saadoun, a Syrian Kurd journalist and news producer. While he was released  the next day, it was not the first time Kamiran Saadoun had been arrested because of his journalistic work and his detention was not an isolated case.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The closure of the offices of Kurdistan 24 media and the revocation of its license is sheer censorship and shows a total denial of press freedom. We urge the authorities to reverse their decision and stop the relentless harassment of media and journalists in the region.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

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