Syria – Death of journalist Mika Yamamoto (August 21, 2012)

Journalist Mika Yamamoto, who worked for the Japan Press news agency, was killed on August 20, 2012, in Aleppo. We extend our condolences to her family and friends, as well as to her colleagues.

Since the start of the uprising aimed at securing freedoms, 5 other journalists have already been killed in Syria because of their work and their commitment to the freedom of expression, according to Reporters Without Borders. Indeed, the death of Mika Yamamoto comes on top of the deaths of Gilles Jacquier, a senior reporter for the television channel France 2, who was killed on January 11 in Homs, Marie Colvin from the Sunday Times, photographer Rémi Ochlik, who were killed on February 22, also in Homs, during the bombing of a press center, as well as those of Syrian journalists Mohammed al-Saeed, who worked for Syrian state television, on August 3, and Shoukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Bourghoul, who worked for the Al-Thawra newspaper, on January 2.

While the Syrian authorities have a duty to protect the freedom of the press and journalists, they are systematically imposing constraints on media representatives and committing abuses against them. Scores of Syrian journalists and bloggers have been arrested or tortured since the start of the conflict. Physical assaults take place on a daily basis. Foreign journalists have been arrested and expelled.

France would again like to signal its solidarity with journalists all over the world - especially in Syria - who, often at the risk of their lives and in particularly difficult circumstances, continue to work courageously to ensure the circulation of free and independent information

In general, France reaffirms the very serious risks associated with any travel within the Syrian territory. The “Travel Advice” website, which is continuously updated, expressly advises against travel to this country: