Authority’s Crackdown on Media: Will the Syrian Uprising Become a Story Untold?

Posted on February 26, 2012 in GlobeScope, Politics at Play

By Pallavi Gupta:

The Syrian Uprising is a matter of global concern. The internal conflict in Syria has not just attracted the world’s attention towards its inhuman action, but has also created a great sir within the country and its civilians. The Syrian revolt began in March 2011, by the civilians and is still an ongoing insurrection. The cause of this rebellion is to gain greater political freedom in the country by bringing down the repressive and authoritative government of President Bashar-al-Assad.

This uprising has resulted in deaths of thousands of people, and the toll of people either injured or arrested till date is so high that it has become inconceivable to give a figure to. The government is using its army against its unarmed civilians. The verification of the government reports and the death-toll in the country is difficult to affirm as the Syrian government has restricted and/or limited the entry of foreign journalists in Syria. Syria has barred independent reporting, and is putting efforts to curb the coverage of clashes between the Mr. Assad’s autocratic government and the Syrians.

The unrest in Syria is becoming a series of extremely violent events as the government has reportedly ordered the Syrian army to use snipers and tanks to curb the protests and demonstrations. The cities of Syria are a site of massacre — something which the government justifies as operations performed to obviate armed insurgency. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, condemned the attacks and the incumbent government, stating that al-Assad had “lost legitimacy,” and that “President Assad is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power“.

Media outlets in Syria have been blocked so that the situation of the internal conflicts is not reported to the outside world. The authorities have limited the provision of granting visas to foreign journalists. The ones who have been granted visas are under the constant supervision by the authorities. The Syrian government is, thus, ensuring the fact that the horrors of the war remain within the country itself. The reporters, on the other hand, are acting against this, and are trying to cover the slaughter run the risk of getting caught in the civil war and losing their lives.

The Syrian authorities are irked by the continuous smuggling of foreign journalists into the country. Journalists cannot move freely in the country and are being attacked and killed. Civilian journalists and the foreign correspondents that are covering the carnage have been warned by the Syrian government to back off. Shelling and bombing has become a common scene in Syria, killing a number of civilians and reporters; the very eyes and ears of the world — the reporters — are being targeted, so that no information is leaked out to the rest of the world.

Recently, there has been large-scale bombing in the central city of Homs in Syria, hitting the makeshift media centre, where a number a number of foreign journalists were working and through which the international audience was being kept informed about the unstable circumstances of the nation. The bombardment resulted in the death of two western journalists, a veteran American war correspondent Marie Colvin and a young French photographer, Rémi Ochlik, also leaving many others injured. Speculations are flying right left and centre, that the attack was a deliberate act by the authorities.
The Syrian authority is reported to have asked the foreign journalists who have been smuggled into the country to report to the Syrian government the soonest possible. The autocratic regime stated, commenting on the recent deaths of journalists, to honour the country’s laws and regulations regarding its media and advised them to leave the soil of Syria as it is an unsafe territory for them.

Journalists are paying an undeserving price for their fulfilling their duty to unmask the gory truth of the uprising. The basic right, freedom of expression, of the society is being muffled by the Syrian government. The tyrannical regime needs to end and people of Syria should once again have the choice of writing their destiny.

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