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Journalists have been major casualties in Syrian conflict - RWB.

| PARIS, Aug 28 (KUNA) -- Professional journalists and "citizen" news providers have been major targets of belligerents in the Syrian conflict since its inception and about 100 professional and amateur news providers have died in that country since March 2011, press sources said Wednesday.

Reporters Without Borders (RWB), a press freedom organisation, said in a statement that 25 professional press workers, including six from foreign media, have been killed in the Syrian violence. More than 70 citizen journalists, all of them Syrians who supply raw video and reports on the fighting, have also died.

Meanwhile, RWB said that 14 foreign journalists and 60 Syrian press professionals and citizen journalists are still reported missing after being arrested or abducted.

"Reporters Without Borders reminds all parties to the conflict that, like all civilians, media professionals are protected by international conventions and must not be targeted or detained while covering a war that has already cost more than 100,000 lives," the statement stated.

It added that the government is continuing "its relentless persecution of news providers that it regards as unwanted witnesses." In view of government and rebel attacks on the press, "Syria is now the world's most dangerous country for journalists, citizen-journalists and other information activists," RWB indicated.

"News providers are being assailed on all sides, not only by the regular army but also by the opposition, which is increasingly responsible for abuses against both Syrian and foreign journalists," it said.

"Arrest and abduction of journalists by armed opposition groups, especially jihadist groups such as Jabhat Al-Nosra and Dawla Islamiya, also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is an increasingly significant component of the spiralling violence," Reporters Without Borders wrote.

ISIS is now credited with "most of the abuses" against journalists in recent months.

"Reporters Without Borders is extremely worried by the growing number of Syrian and foreign journalists who are being arrested or abducted by armed opposition groups, especially ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nosra. It has become increasingly clear in recent months that most of these abuses are attributable to ISIS, which aims to impose order on the territory it controls," the press freedom body asserted.

RWB cited a number of disappearances, arrests and killings in areas controlled by radical groups in Syria.

At the same time, the government "continues its crackdown" against press professionals and citizen journalists, RWB said.

"Several citizen-journalists and other information activists have been killed by the regular army in the past three months while gathering information," the statement reported.

Arrests of journalists by regime security forces and expeditious trials of several of them have also taken place. (end) KUNA 282003 Aug 13NNNN

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:7SYRI
Date:Aug 28, 2013
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