10 Most Censored Countries - Syria
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||2 May 2012|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, 10 Most Censored Countries - Syria, 2 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/502cb01636.html [accessed 16 September 2014]|
Leadership: President Bashar al-Assad, who took over upon his father's death in 2000
How Censorship Works: Since demonstrators began calling for Assad's ouster in March 2011, the regime has imposed a blackout on independent news coverage, barring foreign reporters from entering and reporting freely, and detaining and attacking local journalists who try to cover protests. Numerous journalists have gone missing or been detained without charge, and many said they were tortured in custody. International media have relied heavily on footage shot by citizen journalists in very dangerous conditions. At least nine journalists have been killed on duty since November 2011, six in circumstances in which government culpability is suspected. In its campaign to silence media coverage, the government disabled mobile phones, landlines, electricity, and the Internet. Authorities have routinely extracted passwords of social media sites from journalists through beatings and torture. The pro-government online group the Syrian Electronic Army has frequently hacked websites to post pro-regime material, and the government has been implicated in malware attacks targeted at those reporting on the crisis.
Lowlight: Ferzat Jarban was the first journalist killed for his work in Syria since CPJ began documenting deaths two decades ago. A local videographer documenting protests and the government's violent crackdown in his hometown of Al-Qusayr in Homs, his footage showed shocking images of dead women and children. Jarban was last seen being arrested before his body turned up bearing signs of mutilation, with one eye gouged out.