AMARC condemns threats against Syrian community radio ARTA FM

[:en]Montreal, April 27, 2016. The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) is deeply concerned by the act of vandalism and intimidation perpetrated against the headquarters and the staff of ARTA FM, an independent community radio station located in Amudah, in the north-east of Syria, the acts of intimidation and the death threats against its Executive Director, Sefqan. AMARC condemns in the strongest terms any acts that threaten the safety and independence of media workers.

An important and reliable source of information for the population of the region, ARTA FM is a project of ARTA for Media and Development, a non-profit German NGO. The community radio station is independent and multilingual, broadcasting in the north-eastern parts of Syria since July 2013 and online. The station broadcasts 15 hours of programmes and news bulletins daily in four languages: Kurdish, Arabic, Syriac and Armenian.

Commenting the situation, Siruan H. Hossein, ARTA FM’s founder and General Director, said: “We will not be intimidated by these cowardly acts and stop our work to strengthen free, independent media in the region. However, we also do not want to put our staff at risk. We demand that the Self Administration authorities immediately open a serious, independent investigation and punish those responsible for this crime. We also demand that serious measures are taken to protect media workers, civil society activists and civilians in general. That is what the People’s Protection Units are supposed to be there for.”

AMARC calls upon the authorities to investigate these acts of violence and to ensure the protection of independent media in the region.

Source provided by Community Media Solution[:]