Friday, December 16, 2016
As forces loyal to the Syrian government are taking over territories within the city of Aleppo, Free Press Unlimited and other international media and press freedom organisations call on all parties of the conflict to ensure that steps are taken to safeguard the lives of all civilians, including media workers living and working in Aleppo and those media workers choosing to leave the city.  

Throughout the conflict, Syria’s media workers and other news providers have directly and deliberately been targeted by multiple parties in the conflict. Despite the risks, those media workers chose to stay reporting directly from the streets of the besieged city and informing the outside world of atrocities committed by all sides.

The undersigned organisations recognise and respect that the Syrian civil society and media have chosen not to accept any special safety assurances and arrangements regarding their evacuation. This further underlines the urgency for the United Nations to facilitate immediate evacuation of all civilians to areas outside regime control.

The undersigned organisations therefore call on all parties to ensure the safe passage of civilians, including media workers and show respect for the work and the physical integrity of media personnel, who are ensuring that the outside world and citizens within Syria are being kept informed of developments and can make informed decisions on the basis of this.

The United Nations have reported that civilians in Aleppo have gone missing as they have tried to seek safety by crossing territories held by opposing sides. For this reason, the undersigned organisations also reminds all parties to the conflict that media workers and other news providers are to be protected alongside civilians as stated in the Geneva Convention.

Names and identities of Aleppo’s media workers are known to international media assistance and press freedom organisations and any harm to their personal safety will be considered a breach of international conventions put in place to ensure the safety of journalists and must be independently investigated.

Jesper Højberg, Director of International Media Support
Ayman Mhanna, Executive Director of Global Forum for Media Development
Cyprien Ndikumana, Directeur Général de l’Institut Panos Grands Lacs
Courtney Radsch, Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists
Owais Aslam Ali, Chairman of Pakistan Press Foundation
Steve Buckley, Managing Director of Community Media Solutions
Gisèle Khoury, President of Samir Kassir Foundation - SKeyes Center for Media & Cultural Freedom
Remzi Lani, Executive Director of Albanian Media Institute
Johan Romare, International Director, Fojo Media Institute
Lucie Morillon, Programme Director of Reporters Without Borders
Petra Berner, Head Strategy and Consulting Service, Deutsche Welle
Jeanne Bourgault, President and CEO, Internews
Leon Willems, Director of Free Press Unlimited
Kateryna Myasnikova, Executive Director, Independent Association of Broadcasters
Armand Hurault, Executive Director, Media Libre
Joyce Barnathan, President of International Center for Journalists
Tihomir Loza, Executive Director of the South East European Network for Professionalization of Media
Tina Carr, Director of Rory Peck Trust
Kristin Lord, CEO and President of IREX