Thursday, June 20, 2019
Free Press Unlimited’s partner the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA) is the first media organisation that will be invited to the ongoing peace talks in Geneva. Freedom of opinion and expression now will be an important element in the negotiations around the future of Syria.

The invitation to the talks is unique for Syria and shows that the United Nations finally recognises the importance of a functional independent media for civil society in Syria. Free Press Unlimited supported this process from the beginning.

Mid March 2019, the SJA met decision makers from both the United Nations and the European Union during side meetings of the Brussels III conference ‘Supporting the future of Syria and the region’. SJA chairman Ali Eid saw his call for strengthening the role of professional media in Syria’s future answered by the United Nations who formally invited his association to participate in the ongoing UN-led peace process in Geneva. Free Press Unlimited encouraged this process from the beginning.

Fighting hate speech

Ali Eid hopes the Syrian Journalists Association will participate in shaping the future of political legislation on public freedom, freedom of expression, independence of the media and dialogue, and contribute to the next stage by fighting hate speech in the media. ‘We called for an alliance between media and civil society to combat hate speech while protecting Freedom of Expression, and recommended a course of action to the European Union and the United Nations to build the future of Syria’, said Eid.

During the various meetings he stressed ‘that the freedom of opinion and expression is an important element in negotiation, which should not be ignored’. Eid said he spoke out for freedom of expression on behalf of ‘all Syrian journalists who refuse guardianship of the media’.

Photo: Delegates from the UN at the Brussels conference on Syria. Copyright: European Union