Syria/ 4.2 Recent policy issues and debates  

4.2.6 Media pluralism and content diversity

State-Owned Media

The daily state-owned Newspapers: 8 newspapers, three of which are published and released in Damascus and one in each of Homs, Latakia, Aleppo, DeirEzzor, and Hama. The Ministry of Information has also launched the SyriaTimes E-newspaper and established the Syrian Information Center in Moscow.


  • Newspapers issued and released by public universities: three newspapers in Damascus, Tishreen, and Aleppo University.

  • Newspapers issued and released by the ministries: 19 newspapers issued and published by the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Supplies and Internal Trade, Ministry of Housing and Construction, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Religious Endowment (Al Awqaf), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry, and Ministry of Local Administration. All of which are monthly-issued magazines and newspapers.

  • Newspapers issued by the bodies, institutions, and state-owned companies: 21 newspapers.

  • Newspapers issued by Syndicates and Vocational Unions: 21 newspapers.

  • State –owned radio: 3 and three others have been launched during the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.

  • State-owned TV stations: 5 land and satellite TV stations, one of them is specialized in exhibiting Syrian drama series and another is educational. In 2011, a religious satellite TV channel was officially licensed while the year 2013 witnessed clear changes regarding the closure of the two cable TV channels and the launching of a new satellite TV channel named, “Talaqi“.

 



Parties Media

Newspapers issued by the parties of the National Progressive Front: 8 newspapers issued and released by: the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party, The Arab Socialist Movement, The Syrian National and Social Party, the Central Committee of Syrian Communist Party, the Democratic Socialist Unionist Party, The Arab Socialist Union Party, the Syrian Communist Party, and the Arab Socialist Unionists Party. Even though nine new other political parties which work on the Syrian land were licensed, they haven’t yet published any newspapers, and instead created websites and Facebook pages.



Private Media

Daily newspapers: issued from the Free Zone in Damascus, They are subject to the laws applied on foreign newspapers which are circulated in Syria, and there were two newspapers until 2011.


Weekly newspapers: there were 25 newspapers with topics ranging between economic, cultural, advertisement, sports, social and variety.


In addition to a big number of monthly and bi-monthly magazines.


Since its foundation in November 2011 to June 2012, the National Information Council has granted license to more than twenty newspapers and magazines interested in politics, culture, law, and medicine according the interview with Council Director  by SANA[1]. One of which was “Assham” newspaper which is a daily political and cultural newspaper owned by Amid Al Khouli, who was the former Head Editor of Atthawra newspaper, and another weekly comprehensive newspaper known as “Al Manbar Al Hur”.


Private Radios: there are 16 private radio stations[2] in Syria. According to the “Syria Gate” website in 2014 there were twenty private radio stations.[3]


Private TV Channels: there are 3 private TV channels.



Newspapers Issued by Civil Institutions

Until March 2011, five newspapers had been issued in Syria by civil institutions on environment and medicine, in addition to a religious magazine issued by the Patriarchate of Antioch on media and intellectual topics. While the independent informational sector (the civil) has witnessed a real revolution since the beginning of the uprising[4]. As a result, plenty of information items, both electronic and paper, all of which are independent, were issued. Some were founded by activists not specialized with information work, and who thought the presence of civil information as necessary to cover the uprising events as well as granting opportunities for freely expressed opinions, ideas, and vision regarding the social-political events. At the time of the research, the statistics have been as following:


More than 60 newspapers and E-magazines, most of which are printed as well, are distributed throughout Syria.


Four radio stations, three of which broadcast on the internet and one on air from the city of Saraqib in Idlib.


Even though the previous media instruments grew in exceptional conditions and most of their staff members were not information or cultural specialists, this makes the issue of the possibility of their persistence and development a legitimate question. It also grants social activists the opportunity to study the case of each item separately, searching for and providing continual bases for it, as if it was clearly capable of continuing and developing.


All previous information monitors Syrian media outlets until mid-2013. After that, opposition media outlets not under government control -whether inside Syria or abroad - witnessed a lot of activity in the form of being shut down or stopped, only for new media outlets to launch. Counting and following up on outlets’ activities requires a specialized body therefore the “Syrian Charter”[5] organization has created a site for Syrian media.[6] The “Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution”[7] website documented 26 Syrian private stations against the regime.






[2] Website of the Ministry of Information: http://moi.gov.sy/ar/aid5930.html

[4]Attach of the national opposition information

[5] http://syriancharter.org/     a non-governmental organization for the service of Syrian society based in Berlin, Germany


Chapter published: 06-05-2016


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