IFJ condemns death of Al Jazeera cameraman in Syria

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Mohammed al-Asfer, 19 year old Al Jazeera cameraman who was shot dead in Southern Syria last 26 June. Al-Asfer is the fifth Al Jazeera media worker to be killed in Syria since the outbreak of violence in 2011. "The death of Mohammed Al-Asfer is profoundly troubling," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "He was only 19 and prepared to risk everything to report the conflict that has destroyed his country." Al-Asfer was killed by Government forces while covering the fighting in Daraa province. According to Al Jazeera reports, Al-Asfer had already lost his father and brother in the fighting and had himself been previously injured while covering the clashes as a stringer for Al Jazeera. According to the Director of Aljazeera Arabic, Yaserl Abu Helal, Al-Asfer "dreamed of martyrdom and to meet god while working to achieve freedom for his people." "While we mourn Al-Asfer's death and admire his commitment, questions must also be asked of why he had been sent to cover the conflict when his employers knew that he was not in the right state of mind," added Boumelha. "Media have a responsibility to report the news, but employers have a responsibility to ensure that their staff are safe. They have a particular duty of care to staff who are young, and still suffering the trauma of great personal loss."

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