Isis issues rules for journalists forcing them to 'swear allegiance as subjects of the Islamic State'

The 11-point list is reportedly being enforced in Deir Ezzor, Syria

After beheading two American journalists, Isis militants have reportedly issued rules to reporters still operating in areas they control forcing them to swear allegiance as “subjects of the Islamic State”.

Anyone violating the guidelines, which specify which media outlets can be worked with, demand pre-approval of all stories and the control of personal social media accounts, is threatened with “being held accountable”.

The vast majority of foreign journalists have already fled Isis-held regions of Syria and Iraq and those remaining are predominantly local reporters attempting to document the ongoing conflict.

The murder of James Foley and Steven Sotloff and continued captivity of British photojournalist John Cantlie, who is used in Isis propaganda videos, graphically illustrates the danger they are in.

British photojournalist John Cantlie is being held hostage by Isis

In the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, near the Iraq border, the Islamists have reportedly announced draconian rules for reporters.

Many journalists fled when the controls were announced, website Syria Deeply reported, but others chose to stay and obey them.

Amer, a journalist in Deir Ezzor, told the website he took the risk to continue documenting events, feeling someone had to report what was happening to the world.

An Isis press office has been set up to control media, he said, and the following non-negotiable list of conditions was issued at a meeting.

Isis rules for journalists

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.

Steven Sotloff, an American journalists, was murdered by Isis

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.

James Foley was kidnapped near Aleppo, Syria, with another journalist in 2012

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.

The Independent has not been able to independently verify that the decree is genuine but Isis expert Shiraz Maher said it would be in line with the group’s conduct so far.

“It certainly seems possible,” he said. “And it’s written with the verbosity one would expect from Islamic State.”

Isis has carried out countless summary executions, beheadings, mock executions and massacres in its bloody war to establish an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Shia Muslims, religious and ethnic minorities, enemy fighters and anyone accused of opposing their violent ideology have been targeted.