Statement by media activists, media offices and coordination committees in Damascus and its suburbs concerning communications and media activities:
Addressed to the National Coalition and all opposition groups, to the friends of Syria, whether they are Arab or foreign states, to any independent media institutions benefiting from any piece of information that an activist pays sometimes his/her own life to supply, like 7 colleagues of ours did when they paid their lives for the sake of unsafe media activity. The incident took place when the internet service was disconnected. Seven of our fellow media activists were killed at a checkpoint in a suburb near Damascus while they were trying to reach a spot wherein a satellite internet device is provided, in order to upload videos. As a result, they were killed on the spot after the videos saved on their computers were discovered by regime forces.
Thus, we want to inform you that we have been given many promises related to providing alternative communication devices to be used when telecommunications and/or the internet are disconnected, rather than depending on local communication means which are still under the regime surveillance. Furthermore, several promises were given to us pertaining media activity support, and this includes providing certain equipment such as laptops, cameras and mobile phones, and these promises were given by those who pretend to stand by the Syrian people and media freedom. However, most of these promises have not been kept and nothing has been materialized yet. Moreover, many sides kept bragging through media and political statements about providing the opposition and Syrian activists with satellite telecommunications, and many statements talked about budgets allegedly expended on such devices.
Considering the above-mentioned claims, we have to clarify some facts as follows:
• Damascus and its suburbs suffer from a scarcity of safe means of telecommunication (like satellite internet devices) that must be provided as a substitute for the available unstable means of communication utilized at the moment.
• Most promises given throughout a year and a half were not serious enough, and most initiators have not adhered to satisfying activists’ needs.
• Some circles started to send equipment exclusively to certain persons who do not pursue any media activity or even a relief activity in real life, so that the equipment are stored to be used later and to serve the diverse purposes of different senders, or the consignees might not be aware of how these equipment could be used correctly and effectively.
Due to the aforementioned circumstances, we demand the following:
Members of the Syrian opposition abroad must find a way to support real media activists in Damascus and its suburbs with all needed equipment fast, especially satellite internet devices, to save activists’ lives.
We ask for unconditional support for equipment, no strings attached, meaning we shall not be held to any kind of obligation to whoever provides the equipment, whether during the revolution or afterwards.
We, the media activists, have agreed that if we are not provided with telecommunications equipment, then we will suspend our media activities until we are given the requested support in order to both serve the revolution, and provide continuous media coverage without interruption.
We shall consider all international and regional sides, as well as the members of the Syrian opposition abroad, responsible for the media blackout if the telecommunications are disconnected once more again. The aforementioned sides’ liability shall extend to include the massacres that will be impossible to be covered by media due to the unavailability of any kind of telecommunications whatsoever.
Damascus Media Office
SANA Althawra News
Syrian National Center For Documentation_SNCFD
Damascus Youth Union for Change
Mashrou Dmmar Coordination
Moaddamiyat Al-Sham Coordination
Moaddamiyat Al-Sham Media Center
Shahed Min Qalb Alhadath News
Revolution Leadership Council in Yabroud
Yabroud Al-arabiya News
Deir Al-Asafeer Coordination
Revolution Office for Security Counseling
Saiydah Zainab Media Office
Union of Palestinian Camps News Networks
Erbeen Law Office
Zahira and Zuhour Street Coordination
Hajjira Al-Balad Coorsination
Hosh Arab and Esal Alward Coordination
Leena Al-shami- Media spokesperson from Damascus
Sama Massoud- Media spokesperson from Damascus Suburbs
Sarah Samman- Media spokesperson from Damascus Suburbs
Ibrahim Muhammad Shaiban- Media spokesperson from Damascus
Salam Muhammad-Media spokesperson from Damascus
Abu Osama Almidani- Media spokesperson from Damascus
Abdulrahman Al-dimashqi- Media spokesperson from Qalamoun
Rami Sayyd- Media activist in the southern districts of Damascus