Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Mike Pence (R-IN), co-chairs of the Press Freedom Caucus, introduced a resolution in the House condemning the killing of journalists in Syria and calling on the government to open the country up to independent and foreign news media and end its media blackout. In the past year, journalists from across the world have bravely provided on-the-ground reports from the region. But they are increasingly in danger from fighting and often targeted specifically by the Syrian government. Yesterday, Reporters Without Borders reported that four journalists were killed in Syria despite the recently-announced ceasefire.
"Journalists put their lives on line every day to bring us news from across the globe," said Schiff. "Any time a journalist is assaulted, it is an assault on all of us, and on the world's need for timely and accurate information. This year, journalists have made great sacrifices to bring us the truth about Bashar al Assad's devastating cruelty to his own people.
"Our resolution today condemns the violence against journalists by the Syrian government, and calls on Syria to allow a free and independent press to operate within the country."
Since the start of the conflict in Syria, at least nine members of the media have been killed covering the uprising. This is the companion legislation to a resolution introduced in the Senate by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), and comes two weeks before World Press Freedom Day, which will be held on May 3, 2012. Joining Schiff and Pence in introducing this resolution are Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Information on the Caucus: The Press Freedom Caucus is a bipartisan caucus aimed at advancing press freedom around the world. The Congressional Caucus for the Freedom of the Press, co-chaired by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Mike Pence (R-IN), creates a forum to combat and condemn media censorship and the persecution of journalists around the world.