History of Syrian Media
BIRTH OF MEDIA ACTIVISTS: INFORMING THE WORLD OF THE REVOLUTION
At the dawn of popular protest in March 2011, the Syrian media are limited to a few official bodies that broadcast the only Baathist ideology: a news agency (SANA), a television channel and three national newspapers. In the absence of international media on the ground, the first Syrian demonstrators feared that the Hama closed-door massacre of 1982 would be repeated. In a matter of weeks, between 10,000 and 30,000 civilians had been victims of the bombings and the City by the regime, which then accused the city of fomenting a rebellion. The revolution of 2011 is thus filmed from its beginnings by activists by means of smartphones and cameras, in order to testify of the brutal repression of the regime. They are systematically targeted.
These young media activists collaborate with local coordinating committees and organize themselves into media networks or news networks.
Activists living outside Syria provide communication between activists in the field and international media. The latter, denied access to the country by the regime, now rely on news networks to inform the world of the dispute.
This is in particular the case of big channels like Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiyya, France 24, Sky News or the BBC.
FROM MEDIA ACTIVISTS TO CITIZEN JOURNALISTS: PREPARING SYRIA FOR TOMORROW
The military offensive in December 2011 against the Bab Amr district in Homs marks a first turning point: followed directly by millions of viewers, it signs the determination of the army that no longer fears the live retransmission of international channels. Some media activists wish to take part in a constructive long-term approach: to engage in journalism to better inform the Syrian population and prepare the country according to Bashar al-Assad. These young men of all socio-economic backgrounds become "citizen journalists" and aspire to build a new society. From spring 2012 emerge many independent Syrian media.
From a political point of view, these new media are well aware of their capacity to play a role of counter-power within the revolutionary instances. Their bias against the regime is still very marked, despite the efforts of some journalists.
DIVERSIFICATION AND PROFESSIONALISATION OF THE MEDIA SECTOR
More and more newspapers and magazines are being added to mediacenters and news networks, distributed in towns and villages despite the risks involved. Radio stations are also being developed, first on the Internet and then on the FM band, as well as local television channels. This expansion corresponds to the progressions of the conflict in the military field which leads de facto to the partition of Syria.
The diversification of the independent Syrian media offering is gradually being accompanied by its professionalization. The new independent Syrian media are now working with a view to transparency and professional requirements imposed by international channels. They develop journalistic ethics charters and work locally to transmit reliable and authenticated information. Training sessions are also organized by foreign NGOs. With this in mind, ASML/Syria is now working to develop a credible, diversified and multisupport independent media landscape.