BEIRUT

Middle East

ISIS imposes media controls on activists in Deir al-Zor

File - A general view shows damaged buildings and debris in Deir al-Zor, June 13, 2013. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

BEIRUT: ISIS has told activists in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province they must swear allegiance to it and submit to censorship, an anti-regime monitoring group said Friday.

The militant group imposed the rules after a meeting Tuesday with activists involved in media work, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

International media organizations have little presence in Syria and rely on activists and other sources to provide information on what is happening in the country.

ISIS also told the activists they must recognize the caliphate, based on their strict interpretation of Islam, that it has declared in the parts of Iraq and Syria it controls.

It said they must stop using the Arabic term “Daesh” to describe the group. “Daesh” is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, and is mainly used by people who oppose it. The group now calls itself the Islamic State.

The Observatory, a Britain-based group which reports on Syria using a network of sources on the ground, said ISIS banned activists from working with television channels immediately. They were told that any videos, pictures or written reports needed to be reviewed by ISIS’ “Information Office,” before distribution.

ISIS, which has been fighting both rebel groups and government forces in Syria, has its own media operation distributed on social media and militant internet forums.

It used its media arm to effect in June when it announced the creation of the caliphate in statements in a series of languages. It has produced videos showing the group’s leader and celebrating its military advances.

It has recently instructed people in areas it controls to, among other things, avoid smoking in public and told women to wear extremely conservative clothing and not wear high heels.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 02, 2014, on page 12.

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Summary

ISIS has told activists in Syria's Deir al-Zor province they must swear allegiance to it and submit to censorship, an anti-regime monitoring group said Friday.

International media organizations have little presence in Syria and rely on activists and other sources to provide information on what is happening in the country.

ISIS, which has been fighting both rebel groups and government forces in Syria, has its own media operation distributed on social media and militant internet forums.


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