SYRIA – Bashar Al-Assad & Jabhat Al-Nosra, two of the 39 Predators of Freedom of Information

Article  •  Publié sur Souria Houria le 6 mai 2013
When you took over as president on 10 July 2000, after 30 years of a ruthless dictatorship led by your father, Hafez Al-Assad, both the Syrian people and the international community thought you would be a reformer, that you would bring democracy to your country. Thirteen years later, you are seen in a very different light. Ever since the Syrian uprising began in the spring of 2011, you have obstinately rejected any possibility of reform and have not hesitated to use imprisonment, torture and summary execution to silence opposition voices. In your determination to hold on to power, you have been responsible for an unprecedented bloodbath.

Bashar Al-Assad, Reporters Without Borders accuses you of the following crimes since you became president:

  • Controlling the news put out by the government and pro-government media.
  • Routinely denying entry to most of the foreign journalists who want to visit Syria.
  • Trying to deter journalists from entering without a permit by using your information minister to threaten them with arrest on a charge of cooperating with Al-Qaida.
  • Ordering the cyber-police to track down everyone whose online activities pose a threat to the regime’s interests.
  • Arbitrarily detaining many Syrian and foreign news providers since the start of the uprising in March 2011.
  • Ordering and organizing the systematic use of torture on detained news providers.
  • Deliberately attacking Syrian and foreign news providers who cover the government’s brutal crackdown.

You should be called to account for these gross violations of freedom of information, which contravene article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

At least 23 journalists and 59 citizen-journalists were killed between 15 March 2011 and 3 May 2013. Seven other journalists are currently missing.


الرئيس بشار الأسد

بعد 30 عاما من ديكتاتورية شرسة بقيادة والدك حافظ الأسد، وصلتَ إلى الحكم في يوليو/تموز 2000. كان الشعب السوري يعتقد، تماما مثل المجتمع الدولي، أنك رجل انفتاح وإصلاحي ستدخل الديمقراطية إلى بلدكبعد13 سنة، تبين أن الأمر مختلف تمامامنذ اندلاع الثورة السورية في ربيع 2011، أظهرت عنادا شديدا في رفض طريق الإصلاح، ولم تتردد من أجل إسكات أصوات المعارضة عن طريق الاعتقال، والتعذيب والإعداممستعد لكل شيء من أجل أن تستمر في السلطة، وأنت مسؤول عن حمام دم لا سابق له.

إن منظمة « مراسلون بلا حدود«  تتهمك يا سيد بشار الأسد، بارتكاب ما يلي خلال فترة حكمك:

– مراقبة الأخبار المنشورة في وسائل الإعلام العمومية، أو تلك المقربة من الحكم،

– رفض السماح لمعظم الصحافيين الأجانب بدخول التراب السوري بالطرق النظامية،

– إصدار تهديدات، على لسان وزيرك للإعلام، باعتقال الصحافيين الأجانب الذي يدخلون البلد بلا ترخيص، واتهامهم بالتعاون مع تنظيم القاعدة،

– إصدار أوامر لأجهزة أمن الإنترنت بملاحقة كل الأشخاص الذين لهم نشاطات على شبكة الإنترنت مخالفة لمصالح النظام،

– توقيف واعتقال عدد كبير من الإعلاميين السوريين والأجانب، منذ بداية انتفاضة مارس 2011، بطريقة تعسفية،

– الأمر وتنظيم الممارسة الممنهجة للتعذيب ضد الإعلاميين الموقوفين،

– تنفيذ هجمات مقصودة ضد الإعلاميين الشاهدين على القمع، سوريين كانوا أم أجانب،

لا بد أن تحاسَب على هذه الانتهاكات الصارخة لحرية الإعلام والمنافية للمادة 19 من الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان.

منذ يوم 15 مارس/آذار 2011 إلى غاية مايو/أيار 2013، قُتِل ما لا يقل عن 23 صحافيا و59 مواطنا صحافيا.

إلى اليوم، لا يزال صحافيين في عداد المفقودين في بلدك.




Jabhat Al-Nosra and its leader Abu Mohamed Al-Jolani


Read in Arabic – (بالعربية)

Abu Mohamed Al-Jolani, you are the leader of Jabhat Al-Nosra, a Jihadi armed rebel group that was formed in Syria in April 2011 to combat and overthrow the Assad regime. You recently proclaimed allegiance to Al-Qaida. You advocate a society based on the Sharia, regard democracy as the religion of the ungodly, and want a caliphate after Bashar Al-Assad’s fall.According to Thomas Pierret, a specialist in contemporary Islam at the University of Edinburgh, your group gained strength in the summer and autumn of 2012 through a combination of factors – the creation of liberated areas in the east and north of Syria, the brutalization of the conflict as a result of air strikes, and the feeling that the opposition was marking time. The United States designated Jabhat Al-Nosra as a terrorist organization at the end of 2011.

Abu Mohamed Al-Jolani, Reporters Without Borders accuses you of committing the following crimes against news providers since the start of the militarization of the Syrian conflict:

  • Intimidating news providers while they are gathering information.
  • Threatening to kill Syrian and foreign journalists who are critical of Jabhat Al-Nosra.
  • Deliberately attacking journalists who work for Syrian media that support the government.
  • Kidnapping foreign journalists.

You should be called to account for these gross violations of freedom of information, which contravene article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



39 leaders, groups named as Predators of Freedom of Information in 2013

On World Press Freedom Day, Reporters Without Borders is releasing an updated list of 39 Predators of Freedom of Information ­– presidents, politicians, religious leaders, militias and criminal organizations that censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and kill journalists and other news providers. Powerful, dangerous and violent, these predators consider themselves above the law.

These predators of freedom of information are responsible for the worst abuses against the news media and journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “They are becoming more and more effective. In 2012, the level of violence against news providers was unprecedented and a record number of journalists were killed. World Press Freedom Day, which was established on the initiative of Reporters Without Borders, must be used to pay tribute to all journalists, professional and amateur, who have paid for their commitment with their lives, their physical integrity or their freedom, and to denounce the impunity enjoyed by these predators.

Five new predators have been added to the list: the new Chinese president, Xi Jinping, the Jihadi group Jabhat Al-Nosra from Syria, members and supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan’s Baloch armed groups, and Maldives’ religious extremists. Four predators have been dropped from the list: former Somali information and communications minister Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed, Burmese President Thein Sein, whose country is experiencing unprecedented reforms despite the current ethnic violence, the ETA group, and the Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces, which are harassing journalists less.

To draw attention to their abuses, Reporters Without Borders has drafted indictments against some of these predators in the hope that they will one day be brought before competent courts. To better highlight the gulf between propaganda and reality, the statements of some of them have been contrasted with the facts. And to show how some predators really think, we have presented their innermost thoughts in the first person. We had to use a little imagination, of course, but the facts alluded to conform to reality.

New names in the list of predators

A predator goes and is replaced by another. It is no surprise that Xi Jinping has taken former Chinese President Hu Jintao’s place as predator. The change of person has not in any way affected the repressive system developed by China’s Communist Party.

The list of predators has been impacted by the repercussions from the Arab Spring and uprisings in the Arab world. Members and supporters of Egyptian President Morsi’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood, have been responsible for harassing and physically attacking independent media and journalists critical of the party.

Jabhat Al-Nosra’s entry into the predators list reflects the evolution in the Syrian conflict and the fact that abuses are no longer attributable solely to the regime, represented on the list by Bashar al-Assad, but also to opposition armed groups, which are proving to be more and more intolerant and suspicious towards the media. At least 23 journalists and 58 citizen-journalists have been killed in Syria since 15 March 2011 and seven journalists are currently missing.

In Pakistan, Baloch armed groups, including the Balochistan Liberation ArmyBaloch Liberation Front and Baloch Musallah Defa Army, have turned the southwestern province of Balochistan into one of the world’s most dangerous regions for journalists. Consisting of armed separatist groups and opposing militias created to defend the central Pakistani government, they have spread terror in the media and created information “black holes.” Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are also on the predators list because of their abuses against the media.

Ever since the army mutiny that overthrew President Mohamed Nasheed in the Maldives in 2012,extremist religious groups have tried to use their nuisance power to extend their influence. They have become more aggressive as the July 2013 presidential election approaches, intimidating news media and bloggers and using freedom of expression to impose a religious agenda while denying this freedom to others.

Unacceptable impunity for predators

Physical attacks on journalists and murders of journalists usually go completely unpunished. This encourages the predators to continue their violations of human rights and freedom of information. The 34 predators who were already on the 2012 list continue to trample on freedom of information with complete disdain and to general indifference.

The leaders of dictatorships and closed countries enjoy a peaceful existence while media and news providers are silenced or eliminated. Such leaders include Kim Jong-un in North Korea, Issaias Afeworki in Eritrea and Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov in Turkmenistan. In these countries, as in Belarus, Vietnam, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, the international community’s silence is not just shameful, it is complicit.

Reporters Without Borders urges the international community not to hide behind economic and geopolitical interests. Thanks to their rich natural resources, Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev and Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev are confident that no one will rap their knuckles. Economic interests come before everything else, as they do with China. It is the same with countries that the West regards as “strategic.”

Iran’s two predators – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have already taken steps to deter the media from providing independent coverage of next June’s presidential election. The waves of arrests of journalists that began on 27 January, “Black Sunday,” are clear evidence of this.

Criminal organizations and paramilitary groups that are often linked to drug trafficking – Mexico’sZetas, Colombia’s Urabeños and the Italian Mafia – continue to target journalists and media they regard as too curious, independent or hostile. In Mexico, a country that is especially deadly for media personnel, 87 journalists have been killed and 17 have disappeared since 2000. Justice has not been properly rendered in any of these cases.

Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in Russia, the authorities have tightened their grip even further in response to unprecedented opposition protests. The country remains marked by a completely unacceptable level impunity for those responsible for violence against journalists. A total of 29 have been murdered since 2000, including Anna Politkovskaya.

Why are predators never brought to justice?

The persistently high level of impunity is not due to a legal void. There are laws and instruments that protect journalists in connection with their work. Above all, it is up to individual states to protect journalists and other media personnel. This was stressed in Resolution 1738 on the safety of journalists, which the United Nations security council adopted in 2006.

Nonetheless, states often fail to do what they are supposed to do, either because they lack the political will to punish abuses of this kind, or because their judicial system is weak or non-existent, or because it is the authorities themselves who are responsible for the abuses.

The creation of a mechanism for monitoring adherence to Resolution 1738, which Reporters Without Borders has proposed, would encourage member states to adopt specific provisions for penalizing murders, physical attacks and disappearances that target journalists, would extend Statesʼ obligations to non-professional “news providers” and would reinforce their efforts to combat impunity for such crimes.

At the international level, the legal protection of journalists is also guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Geneva Conventions and other instruments. The United Nations recently published an Action Plan on the safety of journalists and measures to combat impunity for crimes of violence against them.

The International Criminal Court’s creation has unfortunately not helped advance the fight against impunity for those responsible for the most serious crimes of violence against journalists, although journalists play a fundamental role in providing information and issuing alerts during domestic and international armed conflicts. The ICC only has jurisdiction when the crime takes place on the territory of a state that is a party to the Rome Statute (which created the ICC) or if the accused person is a citizen of a state party.

Furthermore, the Rome Statute provides for no specific charge for deliberate physical attacks on journalists. Article 8 of the statute needs to be amended so that a deliberate attack on media professionals is regarded as a war crime.

(For further information, read RWB’s note)

Dropped from the predators list

Abdulkadir Hussein Mohamed Also know as “Jahweyn,” this Somali politician is no longer minister of information and telecommunications. His successor does not seem to be directly responsible for harassment, intimidation or other abuses against media personnel. Journalism nonetheless continues to be very dangerous in Somalia, with a total of 18 journalists killed in 2012.

Burmese President Thein Sein Installed as president in March 2011, Thein Sein no longer qualifies as a predator of freedom of information. Under his presidency, the military junta has disbanded and all jailed journalists and bloggers, including Democratic Voice of Burma’s 17 video-journalists, have been freed. In 2012, prior censorship was abolished and many exile media began operating openly inside the country. The first privately-owned daily newspapers appeared in early 2013.

Hamas and Palestinian Authority security forces The security forces of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and those of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip have been dropped from this year’s list of predators because the number of their press freedom violations has fallen considerably in the past four years. The situation of freedom of information in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is nonetheless still the subject of concern. The Hamas government recent banned local journalists from working for Israeli media, and many journalists are prosecuted for insulting President Mahmoud Abbas.

ETA The organization ETA has been dropped from the 2013 list. It announced the “definitive end to armed actions” in 2011 and has carried out no attacks on journalists or news media since then. Reporters Without Borders has of course not forgotten all the journalists who were physically attacked or killed by ETA and continues to demand justice for those crimes of violence. Reporters Without Borders will also continue to be on the lookout for any future threat to media freedom by ETA.


List of predators in English






مايو/أيار 2013

اليوم العالمي لحرية الصحافة

39 صيادا لحرية الصحافة أحصتهم « مراسلون بلا حدود » لعام 2013

بمناسبة اليوم العالمي لحرية الصحافة، تنشر منظمة « مراسلون بلا حدود » قائمة من 39 صيادا لحرية الصحافة، من قادة دول، وسياسيين، ورجال دين، وميليشيات، ومنظمات إجرامية، من الذين يمارسون الرقابةعلى الصحافيين والعاملين الآخرين في الحقل الإعلامي، ويسجنونهم ويختطفونهم ويعذبونهم ويقتلونهم أحيانا. أقوياء، خطِرون، عنيفون، هؤلاء الصيادون يعتقدون أنفسهم فوق القوانين.

يرى كريستوف دولوار، الأمين العام لمنظمة « مراسلون بلا حدود »، أن « صيادي حرية التعبير هؤلاء يعتبرون مسؤولين عن أفظع الانتهاكات المسلطة على وسائل الإعلام وممثليها. إنّ ما يرتكبونه يزداد فعالية: لقدكانت سنة 2012 تاريخية بعنفها الذي راح الإعلاميون ضحيته، مع رقم قياسي في عدد الصحافيين القتلى ». وأضاف أن « اليوم العالمي لحرية الصحافة، المعلن بمبادرة من منظمة مراسلون بلا حدود، يجب أنيكون مناسبة لتكريم كل الصحافيين، المحترفين منهم والهواة، الذين يدفعون حياتهم، وسلامتهم البدنية، أو حريتهم، ثمنا لالتزامهم. وهي أيضا مناسبة للتنديد بإفلات هؤلاء الصيادين من العقاب ».

خمسة صيادين جدد التحقوا بالقائمة: الرئيس الصيني الجديد شي جين بينغ، الجماعة الجهادية السورية جبهة النّصرة، حزب الإخوان المسلمين في مصر، الجماعات المسلحة البلوشية فيباكستان والمتشددون الدينيون في مالديف. كما غادر القائمة أربعة صيادين: وزير الإعلام والاتصالات الصومالي السابق عبد القادر حسين محمد، رئيس بورما السابق تين شين الذي تشهد بلادهانفتاحا غير مسبوق رغم وضع غير مستقر، جماعة إيتا الباسكية، إضافة إلى قوات الأمن التابعة لكل من حماس والسلطة الفلسطينية التي قلّت انتهاكاتها ضد وسائل الإعلام.

لفضح الصيادين بأفضل الطرق، وضعت « مراسلون بلا حدود » لائحة اتهامات محددة، على أمل أن يُجبَر هؤلاء الأفراد أو هذه الجماعات يوماً ما على تقديم الحساب أمام العدالة. وحتى يكون واضحا الفارق بينادعاءاتهم والحقيقة، واجهنا تصريحاتهم الرسمية بالوقائع. وحتى تظهر نواياهم الدفينة، وضعت « مراسلون بلا حدود » نفسها داخل رؤوسهم وقدمت أفكارهم بأسلوب مباشر، وبضمير المتحدث. التحرير النصيوضعته المنظمة بحرية، لكن الوقائع المذكورة تطابق الواقع.

أسماء جديدة على قائمة الصيادين

صياد يخلف صيادا: شي جين بينغ، أخذ بلا مفاجأة مكان الصياد هو جينتاو الرئيس الصيني السابق. استبدال الأشخاص لم يطعن أبدا في المنظومة الخانقة للحريات التي يرعاها الحزب الشيوعي الصيني.

قائمة الصيادين أصابتها أيضا الرجة المعاكسة لحركات الربيع العربي والانتفاضات الشعبية. فقد صار حزب الإخوان المسلمين في مصر مسؤولا عن أعمال العنف والضغوط والمضايقات التي تتعرض لهاوسائل الإعلام المستقلة والصحافيون المنتقدون للرئيس مرسي.

تسجيل دخول جبهة النصرة يرمز إلى تطور النزاع السوري وإلى أن الانتهاكات لم تعد حكرا على النظام الحاكم، الحاضر ضمن قائمة الصيادين بشخص بشار الأسد، بل هناك أيضا الجماعات المسلحةالمحسوبة على المعارضة، والتي تثبت يوما بعد يوم تعصبّها وارتيابها إزاء وسائل الإعلام. من 15 مارس/آذار 2011 إلى 3 مايو/أيار 2013، قُتِل في سوريا ما لا يقلّ عن 23 صحافيا و59 مواطنا إلكترونيا. إلىيومنا هذا، لا يزال 7 صحافيين في عِداد المفقودين.

في باكستان، تواجه الجماعات المسلحة جيش بلوشستان المسلح، جبهة تحرير بلوشستان وجماعة التنظيم المسلح، الجماعات الموالية للحكومة والقوات المسلحة لدولة باكستان، جاعلة من إقليمبلوشستان واحدة من أشد المناطق خطورة في العالم بالنسبة للصحافيين. فقد بثت هذه الجماعات الرعب في أوساط وسائل الإعلام، واغتالت صحافيين وأنشأت ثقوبا إعلامية سوداء. تجدر الإشارة إلى أن أجهزةالمخابرات الباكستانية، التي تتحمل أيضا مسؤولية الانتهاكات ضد الصحافة، سبق أن أُدرجت ضمن قائمة الصيادين.

في مالديف، ومنذ الحركة التمردية العسكرية التي حصلت عام 2012 وأسفرت عن الإطاحة بالرئيس محمد نشيد، تحاول الجماعات الدينية المتشددة استغلال قوّتها لمدّ نفوذها في البلد. وقد شرعت في تصعيدمواقفها مع اقتراب موعد انتخابات الرئاسة المرتقبة في يوليو/تموز 2013. إنها ترهب وسائل الإعلام والمدونين وتتلاعب بحرية التعبير لفرض أجندتها الدينية رافضة استفادة الآخرين من هذه الحرية.

هؤلاء الصيادون المستفيدون من إفلات غير مقبول من العقاب

عادة ما تنتهي الاعتداءات واغتيالات الصحافيين بإفلات المسؤولين إفلاتا تاما من العقاب. وهذا يمثل للصيادين تشجيعا على الاستمرار في انتهاك حقوق الإنسان وحرية الإعلام. إن الصيادين الـ34 الموجودينعلى قائمة 2012 مستمرون في الدوس على حرية الإعلام وسط ازدراء تام ولا مبالاة عامة.

قادة الأنظمة الديكتاتورية والبلدان الأشد انغلاقا يعيشون آمنين، بينما تختنق الصحافة والإعلاميون أو أنهم أزيحوا. وهي حالة كيم جون آن في كوريا الشمالية، آسياس أفورقي في إريتريا، أو قربان بيرديمحمدوف في تركمانستان. في حالة هذه البلدان، وغيرها كبيلاروسيا، فيتنام، والديكتاتوريات الأخرى في آسيا الوسطى (أوزباكستان في المقدمة)، لم يعد صمت المجتمع الدولي محل اتهام، بل صار متواطئا. إنمنظمة « مراسلون بلا حدود » تدعو الدول الأكثر احتراما لحقوق الإنسان أن لا تبقى مختبئة وراء المصالح الاقتصادية والجيوسياسية. إن رجالا أمثال إلهام علييف في أذربيجان، أو نور سلطان نزباييف فيكازاخستان يعلمون علم اليقين أن لا أحد سيأتي ليضرب على أصابعهم. لا شيء يعلو فوق صوت المصالح الاقتصادية في بلدان كالصين. نفس السيناريو بالنسبة للدول التي تنظر إليها البلدان


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date : 03/05/2013