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Joint Call: Secure Safe Passage for All Media Workers leaving Aleppo

13 December 2016
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As forces loyal to the Syrian government are taking over territories within the city of Aleppo, International Media Support (IMS) and other international media assistance NGOs and press freedom organisations call on all parties of the conflict to ensure that steps are taken to safeguard the lives of all civilians, including media workers living and working in Aleppo and those media workers choosing to leave the city.

Throughout the conflict, Syria’s media workers and other news providers have directly and deliberately been targeted by multiple parties in the conflict. Despite the risks, those media workers chose to stay reporting directly from the streets of the besieged city and informing the outside world of atrocities committed by all sides.

The undersigned organisations recognise and respect that the Syrian civil society and media have chosen not to accept any special safety assurances and arrangements regarding their evacuation. This further underlines the urgency for the United Nations to facilitate immediate evacuation of all civilians to areas outside regime control.

The undersigned organisations therefore call on all parties to ensure the safe passage of civilians, including media workers and show respect for the work and the physical integrity of media personnel, who are ensuring that the outside world and citizens within Syria are being kept informed of developments and can make informed decisions on the basis of this.

The United Nations have reported that civilians in Aleppo have gone missing as they have tried to seek safety by crossing territories held by opposing sides. For this reason, the undersigned organisations also reminds all parties to the conflict that media workers and other news providers are to be protected alongside civilians as stated in the Geneva Convention.

Names and identities of Aleppo’s media workers are known to international media assistance and press freedom organisations and any harm to their personal safety will be considered a breach of international conventions put in place to ensure the safety of journalists and must be independently investigated.

Jesper Højberg, Director of International Media Support

Ayman Mhanna, Executive Director of Global Forum for Media Development

Owais Aslam Ali, Chairman of Pakistan Press Foundation

Joyce Barnathan, President of International Center for Journalists

Petra Berner, Head of Strategy and Consulting Service, Deutche Welle Akademie

Jeanne Bourgault, President and CEO, Internews

Steve Buckley, Managing Director of Community Media Solutions

Tina Carr, Executive Director of Rory Peck Trust

Etienne Fiatte, Managing Director of CFI

Armand Hurault, Executive Director, Association de Soutien aux Médias Libres

Gisèle Khoury, President of Samir Kassir Foundation - SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom

Kristin Lord, President and CEO of IREX

Kateryna Myasnikova, Executive Director, Independent Association of Broadcasters

Remzi Lani, Executive Director of Albanian Media Institute

Tihomir Loza, Executive Director of the South East European Network for Profession­alization of Media

Lucie Morillon, Programme Director of Reporters Without Borders

Cyprien Ndikumana, Directeur Général de l’Institut Panos Grands Lacs

Courtney Radsch, Advocacy Director for the Committee to Protect Journalists

Mousa Rimawi, Executive Director of MADA

Johan Romare, Director, Fojo Media Institute

Leon Willems, Director of Free Press Unlimited