Sweden: Swedish Radio’s Middle East correspondent Cecilia Uddén was Thursday forced to leave Syria, where she has been reporting over recent days. Cilla Benkö, Director General of Swedish Radio, and Ginna Lindberg, Head of Foreign News are protesting the decision and the treatment of Cecilia Uddén.
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”Today, our correspondent Cecilia Uddén was forced to leave Syria after Syrian authorities withdrew her journalist visa and refused her permission to report from the country.
We are protesting the decision and the treatment of our correspondent. The fact that the Syrian administration is taking this sort of action against an accredited journalist trying to do her job, is not only regrettable but outrageous.
Over recent days, Cecilia Uddén has been reporting from Damascus and Aleppo, and has presented views from both sides involved in the ongoing violent conflict. She is now being accused by the Syrian authorities, on unclear grounds, of circulating ’false information’, an accusation which we completely refute.
Syria’s blatant shortcomings regarding press freedom are well-known and well documented. In recent years, the country has occupied the bottom place in Reporters without Borders’ annual press freedom index. We can observe that the Syrian government is continuing to prevent journalists from being able to document and report from one of the most violent conflicts of recent times.
Swedish Radio is continuing to monitor the conflict in Syria closely and will of course apply for new permission to travel to the country and report on location. The actions of Syrian authorities against our correspondent strengthen our belief in the need for independent journalism.”
Cilla Benkö, Director General, Swedish Radio
Ginna Lindberg, Head of Foreign News, Swedish Radio