The Islamic State, the extremist group that has wreaked havoc in Syria and Iraq, is perhaps best known in the West for its violent behavior toward journalists. The executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff are widely regarded as the catalyst that spurred U.S. and allied strikes against the group, for example.
Now, Syria Deeply, an independent news site that focuses on the Syrian conflict, has published a list of rules that it says has been given to journalists in the Islamic State-controlled region of Deir al-Zour, Syria. The list was sent to Syria Deeply by "Amer," a local journalist who stayed in the city after the Islamic State took over. Amer told Syria Deeply that the rules were sent to him by the Islamic State's media office.
Perhaps most surprising to Western viewers would be that the major international news agencies are tolerated but that satellite news is a no-go. Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera and Orient are described as "channels that fight against Islamic countries," and journalists are forbidden from working with them, probably because of their respective owners (Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Syria, all of which are fighting the Islamic State). The rules appear to be addressing local journalists; for most Western reporters it remains untenable to visit Islamic State-controlled territory. The rules offer a rare glimpse of how the Islamic State, the extremist group, would like to become the Islamic State, a functioning state with its own rules and laws.
Adam Taylor writes about foreign affairs for the Washington Post. Originally from London, he studied at the University of Manchester and Columbia University.
© 2014 Washington Post
* * *
The rules according to ISIS
Here is ISIS's list of nonnegotiable conditions for local journalists "who wish to continue working in the governorate."
1. Correspondents must swear allegiance to the Caliph (Abu Bakr) al-Baghdadi ... they are subjects of the Islamic State and, as subjects, they are obliged to swear loyalty to their imam.
2. Their work will be under the exclusive supervision of the (ISIS) media offices.
3. Journalists can work directly with international news agencies (such as Reuters, AFP and AP), but they are to avoid all international and local satellite TV channels. They are forbidden to provide any exclusive material or have any contact (sound or image) with them in any capacity.
4. Journalists are forbidden to work in any way with the TV channels placed on the blacklist of channels that fight against Islamic countries (such as Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera and Orient). Violators will be held accountable.
5. Journalists are allowed to cover events in the governorate with either written or still images without having to refer back to the (ISIS) media office. All published pieces and photos must carry the journalist's and photographer's names.
6. Journalists are not allowed to publish any reportage (print or broadcast) without referring to the (ISIS) media office first.
7. Journalists may have their own social media accounts and blogs to disseminate news and pictures. However, the ISIS media office must have the addresses and name handles of these accounts and pages.
8. Journalists must abide by the regulations when taking photos within (ISIS territory) and avoid filming locations or security events where taking pictures is prohibited.
9. ISIS media offices will follow up on the work of local journalists within (ISIS territory) and in the state media. Any violation of the rules in place will lead to suspending the journalist from his work, and he will be held accountable.
10. The rules are not final and are subject to change at any time depending on the circumstances and the degree of cooperation between journalists and their commitment to their brothers in the ISIS media offices.
11. Journalists are given a license to practice their work after submitting a license request at the (ISIS) media office.