SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Freedom of Expression Violations in the Levant - July 2022

Monday , 29 August 2022
Design: Mahmoud Younis

The Syrian Democratic Forces set a new record for violations during the month of July 2022. Security patrols arrested 16 citizen journalists and media professionals in just one day in Raqqa, while the Syrian regime’s General Security arrested a Lebanese journalist at the Qamishli airport and deported her by land two days later. Israeli forces continued their violations against Palestinian journalists and photographers, firing teargas and stun grenades at four of them. Two media professionals in the West Bank were arrested, while Israeli authorities prevented four others from covering the events and banned two journalists from travelling.

Below is a detailed summary of the violations monitored by the SKeyes Center in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine.

In Lebanon, journalist and writer Naufal Daou was attacked in Rass Al-Nabeh. The perpetrators insulted him and tried to get him out of his car (07/20). Sawt Beirut International crew members – reporter Mohammad Zeinati and photographer Youssef Fawaz – were beaten while covering a protest in front of the Fakih hospital in Saksakiyah, south of the country (07/22).

In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces’ security patrols arrested 16 citizen journalists and media professionals in Raqqa (07/30). The Al-Ikhbariya news channel correspondent, Mohammad Al-Saghir, began a hunger strike in the Ghweiran prison that the SDF runs in Al-Hasakah, where he has been detained for three years now (07/18). As for the General Security, it arrested Lebanese journalist Nawal Nasr, who works at the Nida’ Al-Watan daily, at the Qamishli airport and prevented her from covering the tenth anniversary of the July 19 revolution (07/17). She was transferred to the Damascus airport by plane and deported back to her country two days later by land.

In Jordan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Abdul-Karim Al-Daghmi prevented media representatives from covering the informal session between the members of the Parliament and cabinet (07/27). Additionally, the Amman Public Prosecutor arrested activist Sumaya Abu Nabaa for two weeks over a publication. She started a hunger strike upon her detention at the Marka prison (07/26).

In the West Bank, the Israeli forces fired teargas at Palestine TV cameraman Fadi Yassine, Quds News Network correspondent Abdullah Bahesh, and freelance photographer Mahmoud Fawzi (07/07). Jordan’s Roya TV correspondent Hafez Abu Sabra was also hit with a stun grenade (07/27). Moreover, the Israeli forces arrested Quds Press journalist Amer Abu Arfeh after raiding his house in Hebron (07/19) and freelance journalist Faisal Al-Rifai a day after storming into his apartment (07/20). They also prevented correspondent Abdullah Bahsh and Al-Ghad channel correspondent Khaled Bdeir, as well as Maan satellite channel crew – correspondent Raed Omar and photographer Ayman Aliwi – from reaching the town of Qarawat Bani Hassan, west of Salfit, to cover the house of two prisoners being demolished (07/25). Furthermore, the Israeli authorities prevented Turkish Radio Television correspondent Majdoleen Hassouna (07/25) and freelance journalist Mujahid Al-Saadi (07/26) from travelling to Jordan through the Al-Karamah border crossing.

Internally, the Palestinian intelligence arrested freelance journalist Thaer Al-Fakhoury after summoning him for questioning at its headquarters in Hebron (07/21). On another note, young people beat Palestinian and foreign artists in Ramallah because they were holding LGBTQIA+ flags (07/09), while Palestine’s hip-hop festival was cancelled over security threats (07/28).

In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued their violations during the month of July 2022. The Media Group general director, journalist Atef Issa, was injured by shrapnel, which caused damage to his house and foot (07/16).

In the 1948 Territories, the Israeli police prevented Al-Qastal news network correspondent Bara’ Shalludi from entering the Al-Aqsa mosque without giving her any clear reason (07/23). Meanwhile, Palestine TV correspondent Salam Mashriqi was victim of a smear campaign and received death threats on social media following her report inside the Israeli Knesset (07/01).

This report was made possible through support from the UN Democracy Fund.

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