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Watch video interviews with 6 journalists forced to flee abroad

Reporters Without Borders

To mark World Refugee Day on 20 June 2013, Reporters Without Borders published the accounts of journalists who had to flee abroad to escape threats to their safety. Syrians, Iranians, Eritreans, Somalis and Sri Lankans - they remind us that reporting the news is a dangerous profession, one that can get you killed or imprisoned.

More than 80 journalists fled their country in 2012 to escape arbitrary rule, imminent imprisonment, persecutions and threats. Others have continued to flee abroad in the first half of 2013. They need our help more than ever.

Dozens of journalists have had to flee the civil war in Syria, where they are very exposed to the violence and are targeted by a government bent on hiding the scale of his human rights violations from the rest of the world.

The exodus continues in Iran. More than 200 journalists have fled the country in the four years since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection. And the regime is even trying to pressure media beyond its borders. The June 2013 presidential election saw threats and intimidation of the families in Iran of journalists working abroad.

Journalists flee for their lives from Somalia to escape the violence of Al-Shabaab's militiamen. Journalists flee into exile from Eritrea to escape an arbitrary and despotic regime. Journalists who refuse to toe the editorial line imposed by the government in Sri Lanka often have to flee abroad when the threats get serious.

RWB's support for journalists who flee abroad

Flight into exile rarely means the end of threats and difficulties. Journalists fleeing abroad usually find themselves stuck in countries that neighbour their own. The borders are easily crossed by representatives of the regime they are trying to escape. Many exile journalists report being watched or threatened by embassy officials or government agents from their country of origin.

Deprived of income after fleeing abroad and often subjected to various financial sanctions before they flee, these journalists are usually in a desperate financial situation that increases the dangers to which they are exposed and adds to their sense of insecurity.

Aware of the vulnerability of these news providers, who have been hounded just for trying to shed light on the everyday reality of life for their fellow citizens, Reporters Without Borders is tireless in its effort to provide them with support.

Of the approximately 60 financial grants Reporters Without Borders has disbursed since the start of 2013, half has been awarded to exile journalists. Three quarters of the grants awarded to journalists from the Middle East have gone to Syrian exile journalists. Reporters Without Borders helps them to cover their basic living expenses or pay their airfare to a safer country.

The Reporters Without Borders Assistance Desk has written more than 80 letters since the start of the year. Almost all of them were to help exile journalists by pressing for a rapid and adequate response from the authorities who are supposed to provide them with international protection.

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