International media freedoms watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Monday condemned the killing in Syria by regime forces of citizen journalists.
Syrian regime forces have killed six citizen journalists this year, RSF said in a statement, naming the latest as Abdul Ghani Kaakeh, 19, killed in northern Aleppo while filming a demonstration.
The NGO “is horrified to have learned of the death three days ago of the Syrian citizen journalist Abdul Ghani Kaakeh,” an RSF statement said, adding that he was “deliberately targeted.”
Kaakeh was shot in the neck while filming a protest in the Salah Eddin district of Aleppo, RSF said.
At least four other citizen journalists were killed in April this year, the Paris-based watchdog said.
RSF also condemned the March 28 arrest of Ali Mahmoud Othman from the beleaguered district of Baba Amro in central Homs. He was later interviewed on state television on April 28.
“Reporters Without Borders condemns this forced confession and macabre piece of stage management,” the statement said, adding that Othman was likely to have been “subjected to severe torture by the intelligence service since his arrest.”
Citizen journalists in Syria say they work in fear, but feel it is their “duty” to document the violence.
“A few months ago I believed I didn’t need to document what was happening around me,” said Mousab al-Hamadi from Hama, central Syria.
“But when I understood we might be killed in silence, I felt it was my duty to make a difference.”
Severe restrictions on media by the Syrian authorities have pushed citizen journalists to take the lead in reporting the violence ever since the anti-regime uprising erupted in March last year.
President Bashar al-Assad is on RSF’s list of “41 Predators of Freedom of Information,” the statement added.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 11,100 people -- mostly civilians -- have been killed in violence in Syria over the past 14 months.