SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Regional authorities in northeast Syria suspend Rudaw TV reporter’s credentials

Tuesday , 12 May 2020

On Sunday, May 10, 2020 the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria, the de facto regional government, suspended Vivian Fatah’s press credentials for two months, thereby banning her from working as a journalist during that time, according to a statement by Kurdish Iraqi broadcaster Rudaw, where Fatah works as a reporter, and a copy of the suspension order posted on Rudaw’s website.

The suspension was prompted by Fatah’s use of the word “killed” rather than “martyred” when referring to fallen members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during a May 7 news report, according to that statement.


In a phone interview with CPJ, Fatah said that she has been staying home since the statement was issued because she had received multiple death threats via text message and on social media.


The suspension order states that Fatah offended fallen soldiers and their families, and said that their families had filed complaints about the broadcast. It also alleges that Fatah refused to apologize for her language.


The Rudaw statement condemned the suspension, saying that referring to the soldiers as “killed” was “a journalistic phrase used in a media context far from any political motive, so it is not meant to be interpreted politically.”


Fatah told CPJ that she clarified her statements in a broadcast yesterday evening, saying, “I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I used the word ‘killed’ as a neutral word. It has been nearly seven years since we in Rudaw stopped using the word ‘martyred.’”


“I didn’t mean to be insulting or disrespectful with the use of the word killed. I didn’t apologize because I have not disrespected anyone,” she added.


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