RSF condemns Swedish radio reporter’s expulsion from Aleppo

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the expulsion of Radio Sweden’s Middle East correspondent, Cecilia Uddén, from Syria, where she had been reporting from Aleppo and Damascus.

Uddén left the country yesterday after the Syrian authorities withdrew her press visa on the grounds that her reporting was “false.” She is now in Beirut.


We deplore the expulsion of a journalist who was accredited with the Syrian government,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “By censoring a journalist because of her coverage of events in Syria, the government has clearly shown that it wants to control the reporting coming out of the country. We call on the authorities to let journalists cover the war in Syria freely.”


Radio Sweden issued a statement yesterday condemning the way Uddén had been treated. Sweden’s prime minister also criticized the Syrian government’s decision.


Reporters risk their lives to operate in Syria, which is the world’s deadliest country for media personnel. At least 62 journalists and 152 citizen journalists and media contributors have been killed there since 2011.


There have been fewer and fewer foreign journalists in Syria in recent years because of the difficulties of getting a visa and moving about a freely, and because of the risk of being kidnapped by an armed group.


At least 26 journalists, citizen journalists and media contributors are currently held hostage by armed groups in Syria, while another 28 are in Syrian government jails.


Syria is ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSFs 2016 World Press Freedom Index.