New York, December 15, 2016 – The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Syrian government’s decision to expel Swedish radio journalist Cecilia Uddén from the country today. According to her employer, Radio Sweden, Uddén’s authorized reporting trip to Damascus and Aleppo was forcibly cut short when the government accused her of circulating “false information.”
“The Syrian government cannot have it both ways, complaining that journalists don’t cover the conflict fairly while preventing journalists from reporting freely on the ground,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said from Washington. “Governments around the world use the excuse of ‘false news’ to censor independent journalists, but no amount of censorship will grant governments a monopoly on the truth.”
The Syrian government has repeatedly denied access to international journalists seeking to cover the Syrian conflict, and the number of international journalists entering without official permission has dwindled in the face of an unprecedented threat of abduction by non-state actors.
As a result, reporting by local journalists has become all the more essential. CPJ on December 13 called on the Syrian government to ensure the safety of Syrian journalists currently trapped inside rebel-held Aleppo. At least 107 journalists have been killed covering Syria’s conflict. The Syrian government currently imprisons at least seven journalists, according to CPJ research.