There are no independent journalists allowed in Syria and when the regime finds out that foreign reporters are embedded with the Free Syrian Army, it hunts them down like dogs. This is based on calculus using the circumstantial evidence available to us about each reporter killed and the time between arriving Syria and their certain deaths. It’s also based on my own intimate knowledge of how the Assad regime operates when it comes to letting the world discover their most inner operational secrets or publicity deceptions (Read my earlier Blog about how Assad encouraged al-Qaeda to fight in Syria).
Reporters without Borders, in offering theirÂ condolencesÂ to a Japanese reporter killed by the Assad army, said the following: “Her death is a reminder that Syria is now the world”™s most dangerous country for media personnel.” The testimony of another reporter who accompanied Mika Yamamoto shows clearly how the 45-year old Japanese journalist was killed when she came face-to-face with a helmeted soldier of the Assad Army.
The Assad regime wants to “produce” the events in Syria and not let them unfold for their truths. To accomplish its goals, the regime needs to stop foreignÂ journalistsÂ from streaming into the country to verify the events on the ground; and the best way to persuade them not to cross the Syrian borders is to hunt them down one at a time to send the message loud and clear to foreign editors around the world not to risk the lives of their employees. The regime ties their locations to their writings published back home and dispatches units to target them individually. So far, 10 foreign reporters have died in Syria and scores of them are missing.
It is recommended that all foreign journalists reporting on Syria hide the fact they are reporting from Syria. True that this robs their readers from an important element about their brave reporting, but for their own safety, it is best to attribute the information to FSA fighters or local reporting. The truth, in and by itself, will one day be a story of its own.Â Foreign editors in pursuit of news have an obligation to safeguard their reporters, something they take very seriously.
The Board of the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, which I hope will connect their next Prize to the Syrian Genocidal fields, has an obligation to publicize the savagery of Assad. There is no better way to protect journalists around the world than for their collective voices to fashion a protest that can echo globally. It’s time for the Pulitzer Board to help foreign reporters in Syria by publicly voicing their concerns and also to lend a hand to the difficult work of Reporters without Borders.