Unprecedented response to kidnappings in Syria

By Jason Stern/CPJ Middle East and North Africa Research Associate on December 11, 2013 9:01 AM ET

In an unprecedented step, more than a dozen international news organizations have signed a joint letter to the Syrian armed opposition about the "disturbing rise in the kidnapping of journalists" in Syria, which has led many outlets to reduce their coverage of the conflict out of safety concerns. The organizations urge the Syrian armed opposition leadership "to assist in identifying those groups currently holding journalists and take the steps necessary to bring about their release."

This step comes in response to an unprecedented danger, with approximately 30 journalists currently missing in Syria. Even the Iraq War, the deadliest conflict for journalists since CPJ's founding, did not reach such chilling numbers. And yet the numbers continue to grow, with at least seven abductions in the past two months.

On December 14, the Supreme Military Council, which commands the Free Syrian Army, issued a response to the letter.

Click here to read the full letter in English and Arabic.

Click here to read the response in English and Arabic.

UPDATE: This blog has been updated to reflect that additional organizations have joined the original 13 signatories and to include a response from the Supreme Military Council.


This is so sad! Journalists who are covering the Syrian conflict should not be punished for simply doing their jobs! It seems like the Syrian crisis will never end...

Journalists Who plunge themselves in dangerous terrain are one of the greatest safety net so many innocent suffering Syrians have. It is when their plight is beamed around the world that the urgency for intervention felt and humanitarian and other assistance that eases their pain pours in.Attacking Journalists is in effect attacking the very people they claim they are trying to liberate.The same principle applies in other risk and hazard filled theaters. People benefit when journalists go about practicing their craft unfettered.

Well, I don't think that for the Syrian people, we are their number one priority on the field. The rebels group lack of food and ammunitions so we are like a pay check for them, a trade with foreign governments.

It is sad to say but why should they give a dam about us? They know no matter how many articles, photos, etc it is just simply useless for their day to day surviving. They don't force medias to go and sometimes must feel embarrassing having a photographer shooting at them while they execute a couple of guys they don't like.

Journalism is neither a glamor filled job nor one with lucrative pay.We have seen under what trying condition CNN's,BBC's, etc. journalists brought to our room the horrific consequences of Philippine's Natural disaster and how that helped rally the world to their side.It also gave us a preview of a real Apocalypse.If the World is totally in the dark about what goes on in some Country X which is actually a gigantic tinder box that will put the world in grave danger.Which means there are reportorial inputs the World can not do without.Hence,keeping real journalists safe and advocating 4 that can not be left to the NEWS Orgs alone.In fact there should be some right of journalists in danger zone enforceable declaration by UN Sec. Council as well as the UN itself . A Math person that appreciates what capable Journalists do, from Addis.

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