Monday, January 21, 2013

Al Jazeera reporter killed by sniper in Syria

CPJ/IFEX) - 18 January 2013 - An Al-Jazeera reporter was killed by a sniper in the city of Daraa today, the station reported, the second journalist fatality in Syria in as many days.

Mohamed al-Mesalma, who was also known as Mohamed al-Hourani, was shot while reporting on fighting in the village of Basri Al-Hariri in Daraa, Al-Jazeera reported. Al-Mesalma had been based in Daraa for about a year, where he reported for Al-Jazeera on the ongoing military clashes between the Syrian army and opposition forces.

Local opposition group AEN Network, and local media affiliated with the Syrian opposition, posted a video of the attack today. The video shows al-Mesalma running across a street with members of an Al-Jazeera crew, and then being shot. The journalist was holding his Al-Jazeera TV microphone at the time of his death. News reports did not immediately identify whether the sniper fire came from government or anti-government forces.

Al-Mesalma was killed shortly after a sniper targeted French military correspondent Yves Debay in Aleppo, news reports said.

"The killing of these two journalists by snipers is part of an alarming trend in which the combatants in Syria are targeting the press," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour. "Civilians, including journalists, are protected under international law and may not be targeted."

At least four journalists have been killed in targeted attacks in Syria since September 2012, three of them by sniper fire. At least 29 journalists were killed covering the Syrian conflict in 2012, including one just over the border in Lebanon, CPJ research shows. CPJ ranked Syria the most dangerous place in the world for journalists in 2012.

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