The Sunday Times has asked freelancers to stop sending photographs and copy from Syria, the Press Gazette reported on Tuesday.
According to photojournalist Rick Findler, the Sunday Times's foreign desk reportedly thanked him for his work but said they had a policy "of not taking copy from Syria as we believe the dangers of operating there are too great."
In 2012, Syria was the deadliest country for journalists, with the Committee To Protect Journalists reporting 28 deaths in the country that year. The Sunday Times' famed war correspondent Marie Colvin was killed in a February 2012 shelling attack, along with a French photojournalist traveling with her, Remi Ochlik. The New York Times lost famed foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid. He died from an asthma attack as he was sneaking into Syria to cover the uprising
Sunday Times policy deputy foreign editor Graeme Paterson told Press Gazette, "In the light of what happened to Marie Colvin we have decided we do not want to commission any journalists to cover the situation in Syria. And we take the same view regarding freelancers speccing in material. Even if they have returned home safely. This is because it could be seen as encouragement go out and take unnecessary risks in the future."
NBC News' Richard Engel and his team of producers were kidnapped in Syria at the end of 2012 by who Engel believed were members of an Iranian-trained Shiite group loyal to Bashar al-Assad. They were held for five days but eventually escaped when their captors were confronted by a Syrian rebel group.
Two journalists have already been killed in 2013, and some remain missing. U.S. freelancer Austin Tice has been missing in Syria since Thanksgiving. His family made emotional pleas in both a public press conference and on the "Today" show, hoping to appeal to his captors for his safe release.
On HuffPost Live, a group of war correspondents discussed the difficulties reporters face in war zones overseas. Freelance journalist Anna Therese Day said, "In the case of Syria, very few outlets want to pay for your expenses, and don't want to cover your costs going in. They'll say 'be very careful, but let us know when you come out. And the underlying message there is we'll buy your coverage if you get out alive."