Media of Syria
The media of Syria consists primarily of television, radio, Internet, film and print. The national language of Syria is Arabic but some publications and broadcasts are also available in English and French. While television is the most popular medium in Syria, the Internet has become a widely utilized vehicle to disseminate content. Transcending all available media, the government seeks to control what Syrians see by restricting coverage from outside sources. Publications and broadcasts are monitored by members of the government. Syria is ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. There were 28 journalists killed in combat in 2012.
Alwatan, a private daily published by businessman Rami Makhlouf, President Assad's cousin, has started recently with a circulation that is growing steadily. Aliqtisadi and Forward Magazine are two private newsmagazines, published by businessman Abdulsalam Haykal, Assad's friend. Forward Magazine, which carries the same name as the New York Jewish weekly, addresses the American audience. A major advertising group owned by Majed Suleiman, son of a former senior intelligence officer, runs the non-political daily Baladna. The only other political publication Abyad wa Aswad (White and Black) is owned by Bilal Turkmani, son of the former defense minister, Hasan Turkmani. Other government-friendly businesspeople started a satellite television channel called Addounia TV, which excludes political news.
There is one main broadcaster for both television and radio called the General Organization of Radio and Television Syria (ORTAS). It was founded in 1960 and is based in Damascus. The channel has programs in Arabic, English and French. TV is the most popular media in Syria.
The Syrian film industry is state-run by the Ministry of Culture, which controls production through the National Organization for Cinema. The industry is largely propaganda based, focusing on Syria's successes in agriculture, health, transportation and infrastructure.
- Syrian Arab Republic Radio
- FARAH FM 97.3
- Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)
- Ministry of Religious Affairs site
- General Authority for Development site
- Government of Hama, city website
- Al-Masdar News, sometimes criticized as sympathetic to the Syrian regime
- Al-Watan, an online edition of Damascus-based Al-Watan newspaper, the 33rd most visited website for 2010 in the MENA region.
- Amaq News Agency, a news outlet linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
- ANF News (Kurdish: Ajansa Nûçeyan a Firatê), a Netherlands-based multilingual online news service.
- ARA News, an online news service focussed on the consequences of war in Syria and Iraq.
- Hawar News Agency (sometimes abbreviated ANHA) (Arabic: وكالة أنباء هاوار) is an online Kurdish news service based in Al-Hasaka, Syria, said to be linked to the SDF.
- Ekurd.net, an English language online newspaper for Kurds since January 2015, based in New York. The editorial team is known, though its owners are not.
- NOW News, a Beirut-based news website focused on the Middle East, with a special section on the developing situation in Syria.
- Orient Net, a Dubai-based Arabic and English language online newspaper concerned with Syrian affairs.
- Rumiyah is a multi-language Raqqa-based online magazine used by ISIL for propaganda and recruitment.
- SMART News Agency, SMART standing for "Syrian Media Action Revolution Team", a France-based Arabic language opposition media network.
- Syria Direct, an Arabic and English language news desk covering Syria's war and politics.
- Syria-News, an Arabic language online press agency intended to report news about Syria.
- Syria NewsDesk, a Beirut-based Arabic news agency, focussed on the ordeal of the Syrian population, supported by the Dutch foundation "Free Press Unlimited".
There are also satellite stations which broadcast outside Syria. Two of the primary satellite networks, Eutelsat and Nilesat, have recently expressed frustrations over the Syrian government preventing satellite TV transmissions broadcast from international outlets.
- Al-Ghad: opposition paper
- Al-Ahd (The Vow)- published by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
- Free Syria-weekly published in Gaziantep, Turkey. Stories tend to support pluralism, moderate Islam and democracy
- Brigades: published by a military brigade to raise questions about the origins of extremist Muslim fighters
- Shaam-published by the Shaam News Network, which is an activist news organization. It is privately financed. Each 16-page edition includes coverage of culture, translation from foreign news sources and cartoons that are critical of the Assad government.
- Pamphlets: Muslim extremist groups such as Nusra Front and Jabhet al-Nusra utilize pamphlets to disseminate their ideas
Recently, the Internet has offered filmmakers a new outlet to broadcast their films. One example of this is that every Friday, since April 2011, volunteers, formed by Abounaddara, have posted a short film on the Internet depicting the social side of the conflict.
- Alaan FM :Al Aan FM Launched in Syria in October 2012 broadcasting live from the UAE. Al Aan FM is available in the following cities and frequencies:
FARAH FM 97.3 Al-Bukamal 96.6 MHz Aleppo 96.6 MHz Al Qunaitra 98.2 MHz Atimah Camps 99.7 MHz Azaz & Afrin 96.6 MHz Al Bab & Manbij 104.4 MHz Damascus 96.9 MHz Daraa 96.9 and 99.4 MHz Hama, Homs 97.6 MHz Idlib 96.6 MHz Kobani 96.7 MHz Latakia 96.6 MHz Qamishli & Amuda 97.6 MHz Suwayda 96.9 and 99.4 MHz Shaddadi (Ash Shaddadi) 97.6 MHz
Internet and social media
With the breakdown of many traditional media outlets during the civil war, much of the current events are reported by individuals on Facebook and Twitter. However, the reliability of such reports can in many cases not be independently verified by credible news agencies. While many websites have appeared and publish a pro-opposition alternative to regime media, the lack of robust journalistic standards has often benefited the government since correctly denying news reports gives them more credibility.
Prohibitive measures against media
State of emergency law
The constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic guaranteed the right to a free press and freedom of expression, but Syria was under a highly restrictive state of emergency law since the Ba'ath Party came to power in 1964 until 2011. Anyone wishing to establish an independent paper or periodical must apply for a license from the Ministry of Information. In 2011 the state of emergency was lifted. This seems to have had no effect what-so-ever on the way the government conducted itself regarding the media, with Syria's ranking actually worsening the following year with journalistic organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders both ranking Syria as one of the top four most repressive countries in the world.
There are over 5 million Internet users in Syria. Reporters Without Borders lists Syria as an “internet enemy” due to high levels of censorship. The Internet is controlled by the Syrian Computer Society (SCS) and the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE). The government monitors activity through the hacking of emails and social networking accounts and phishing. Simultaneously, the government releases pro-Assad propaganda and false information to support its cause. The law requires Internet cafes to record all comments in the online chatrooms. There was a two-day Internet blackout in 2012, which was likely orchestrated by the government. Authorities have blocked journalists and bloggers from attending and reporting on events by arresting and torturing them. This is not limited to Syrian journalists as members of the Associated Press and Reuters have been arrested and expelled from the country for their reporting.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Syria 173rd out of 178 countries in the world on the Press Freedom Index in October 2010. On the Press Freedom Barometer for 2013, the organization reports that 5 journalists have been killed, 21 journalists, 1 media assistant, and 18 netizens have been imprisoned.
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