Another casualty of war in Syria—citizen journalists
While several organizations have long tracked the risks faced by professional journalists working in harm’s way, until recently, less attention has been paid to the occupational hazards faced by “citizen journalists” and “netizens.” These newer members of the media document some of the most dangerous conflicts, sometimes in places that are off-limits to professional journalists. New figures show that the war in Syria, in particular, has taken a heavy toll among them.
Netizens share a similar background to citizen-journalists, but they focus on the use of internet tools to disseminate their work. While RSF states that many of the citizen journalists and netizens in Syria may be sympathetic to the forces trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the organization says they are not combatants in the conflict.
Since RSF began reporting the deaths of citizen-journalists and netizens in 2011, there have been 68 lives lost worldwide. Nearly all of these deaths—65—have been in Syria: four in 2011, 46 in 2012 and 15 (thus far) in 2013. Put another way, citizen-journalists and netizens have accounted for over 70% of all of the Syrian media-related deaths, according to RSF numbers.