On Saturday, a Syrian camera operator was found dead with his eyes gouged out, the first death in an ongoing battle between journalists and the Syrian regime. Syria banned coverage of the demonstrations in May, leaving journalists to defy the ban and go undercover. Ramita Navai's fascinating account of undercover reporting is posted here. But there is a cost. In May, journalists from Reuters and Al Jazeera were arrested and imprisoned. Al Jazeera suspended its bureau after staff members were attacked. Meanwhile, state-controlled media has mostly turned a blind eye to the crowds in the street.
Harassment and detention of journalists began in the spring, and carried on through the summer. For several months, coverage fell silent. Two rebukes from UNESCO have made little difference to the treatment of journalists. But with a recent break in the story, Syria is again making headlines internationally – meaning more correspondents, citizen journalists and bloggers taking big risks to bring us the story. The Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression has been tracking detentions.
To catch up on your Syrian knowledge, the New York Times provides this backgrounder and timeline. CBC uses a photo gallery to spotlight developments, while the BBC has this guide. Al Jazeera maintains a Syria live blog and an ‘Inside Syria’ section that is not daily, but provides good background. Democracy Now! Provides updates from citizen journalists. The blog The News in Arabic (which is in English) gathers stories about Syria from the Arab-language press.
Related article: How I Got the Story in Syria: One Journalist Goes Undercover