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Syria: Crackdown Against Journalists Continues

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Syria, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, War & Conflict

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011/12 [1].

With thousands killed, tortured, arrested and disappeared, the Syrian struggle continues [1] amid unprecedented brutality. In its attempt to silence activists, the regime has stepped up its crackdown against journalists, bloggers and video activists.  Salma Yafi, a student of journalism and member of the National Development Party, is one of the regime's latest victims.

Yafi was arrested after becoming a member of the National Development Party, a new party officially and legally registered in line with the government's new “multi-party reforms”. On February 15, the Syrian government announced that the Parties Affairs’ Committee would license a new party called the National Development Party, raising the number of parties accepted in Syria to six. According to a member [2] of this party, activists from the group share the core demands of protesters but have opted for political and legal means to achieve those demands.

Activists have highlighted the contradiction between announcing reforms and arresting citizens who vow to take part in them. @Gab tweeted: [3]

@Gab [3]: Hold #Assad responsible: Young Salma Yafi registered with government as part of reforms, now she´s arrested. Please use #SalmaYafi to raise awareness.

Announcing reforms while continuing the crackdown on activists has been a trend since the Syrian uprisings started, exactly a year ago today, and more and more journalists have become the target [4] of the regime. Turkish journalists Adem Ozkose and Hamit Koskun have also disappeared in Syria, which has prompted a huge reaction online, particularly among Turkish netizens.

Journalist Jamal ElShayyal tweeted [5]:

@jamalAljazeera [5]: I shared a cell with #AdemOzkose when #Israel detained us after the flotilla attack. He was 1 of 2 journos to smuggle pictures out #Syria

Source: facebook.com/UniteforSyria [6]

Source: facebook.com/UniteforSyria

While the crackdown continues, international political representatives do not seem to agree on how to put an end to the massacre. Syrians, however, are not alone. The Syrian struggle has garnered support from citizens all over the world and a big global campaign is planned for today (March 15), Unite for Syria [7], to stop one year of bloodshed.

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011/12 [1].