After beheading two American journalists, ISIS forces in Deir Ezzor, Syria, have issued 11 rules to journalists who want to report from the region while avoiding being abducted and killed.
The 11 golden rules, all said to be non-negotiable, were established directly by ISIS for any journalists “who wish to continue working in the governorate.” Unsurprisingly, the rules are pretty damn restrictive. Among the conditions, journalists must swear allegiance as “subjects of the Islamic State” and no journalist is to publish any piece of work without first getting approval from the ISIS media office.
Although the vast majority of foreign journalists have already fled ISIS-held regions of Syria and Iraq, here are the full rules for any stragglers left behind:
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.
Wait a minute… let’s go back to Rule #10. The the rules “are not final” and can change at any time? Well, that’s helpful. It might as well read “Journalists may be subject to the removal of their heads at any time for any reason by any member of ISIS.”