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Journalist attacked while covering party elections

(Maharat/IFEX) - 11 June 2012 - On 10 June 2012, Al-Jadeed (New TV) reporter Ghadi Francis was beaten while covering the election of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party at Dhour Chweir.

Francis told the National News Agency the details of the incident: while she was standing outside the hotel where the election was taking place, a supporter of the party called Hussein Hachem asked her to leave. She told him that she is standing on the main road, he then attempted to physically force her to leave. When she resisted, he punched her in the face and kicked various parts of her body.

Francis added that some people present at the scene tried to interfere, notably Firas Al-Choufi, a journalist from Al-Akhbar newspaper, but he was also punched in the face and was left bleeding.

The deputy director of news and political programs at Al-Jadeed, Karma Khayat, confirmed to Maharat that Francis was on duty and there are no personal reasons behind the incident.

A day before the accident took place, Francis prepared a report about the "spring" of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and talked about the possibility that the current president of the party MP Asaad Hardan could lose the election.

Maharat foundation firmly condemns the attack on the journalists and stresses the importance of protecting journalists from conflict and reactions towards any attitude or event, since their mission is to deliver the news to the public. Every attack on a journalist on duty is considered an attack on the free circulation of information, and news coverage that concerns the public opinion. Maharat asks the authorities to investigate this issue seriously, and away from political calculations, especially that the attacker is known and should be held accountable in order to stop the repeated attacks on journalists.

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