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SKeyes Statements | Syria

PEC award 2012 goes to Syrian militants informing the world
June 4, 2012

The Press Emblem Campaign award 2012 for the protection of journalists goes to Syrian militants informing the world on the continuing blood bath in Syria since the beginning of the uprising.

The choice by the PEC award committee for the Syrian militants is to honor their work and relentless efforts to inform the world about the ongoing massacres against the Syrian people while risking their lives, physical liquidation, imprisonment and torture. Since March 2011, 35 journalists and net citizens have been killed in Syria.

PEC President Hedayat Abdelnabi stressed that this year’s PEC award honors the blood sacrifice of the Syrian people and all militant fighters defending freedom of opinion and expression, journalists, citizen journalist and the innocent babies and children of Syria killed in the ongoing battle for the liberation of their nation.

Abdelnabi added that the PEC salutes the work of THE SYRIAN CENTER FOR MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION (SCM), and the plight of its members all detained since February.

However the Center was attacked and shut down on 16 February by Syrian authorities, and it seemed unlikely that they could come to Geneva. The President of the Syrian Democrats Tawfik Chamaa accepted to represent them in Geneva.  

Tawfik Chamaa declared at the press conference  organized by the Swiss Press Club in Geneva that the magnitude of the catastrophe where Syrians killed are displayed on the roads, corpses of women and children are under the rubbles of cities and towns destroyed by artillery attacks, will awaken the world to a very fearful scene, and the carnage of the Syrian people will mark the 21st century with shame.

Chamaa added that the double standard continues, Libyan oil mobilised the world to come to the rescue of the Libyan revolt, while the courage of the Syrian people left the world paralyzed.

PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen noted that the media situation is Syria is very serious, there is no access to independent journalists and when it is officially organized media is targeted, imprisoned, and Syrian journalists are subjected to summary executions.

Lempen adds however all those oppressive efforts by the regime failed to silence the revolt; information continues to spread thanks to the gigantic courage of Syrian militants, those whom we are honoring today.

The situation continues to deteriorate with 107 journalists killed in 2011, others injured, harassed, attacked, and detained during the unfolding events of the Arab spring in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria.

Journalists killed this year at least 65 fell in Syria (15), Somalia (6), Mexico (6), Pakistan (5), Honduras, Brazil, Philippines, Nigeria and other countries. This is a record number compared to the same period of 2011 (44). If calculated on an annual basis this figure could rise to 140 journalists if the situation continues.

In the context of violent situations information is a strategic tool and journalists become its first target.

The PEC will continue its efforts to mobilize governments to face this global crisis and make sure that the perpetrators of those crimes against journalists will not escape justice and that the journalists will enjoy better protection.

Honoring the creation of the PEC on 4 June 2004, the PEC award goes to an individual or a group that has had an outstanding mark in defending journalists and freedom of the press worldwide.

The PEC award since its inception in 2009 went to the militant Palestinian NGO MADA for its role during the Israeli offensive against Gaza, in 2010 it went to the Center for freedom and media responsibility in the Philippines following the massacre of 33 journalists, and in 2011 it went to the militants of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.  

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