Syrian print media under discussion
In mid-October 2015 the Syrian media incubator brought together 26 representatives from Syrian and international media organisations with the aim of discussing the place and role of the print media during times of conflict and difficult transitions and identifying solutions to the challenges they face.
According to a study by the newspaper Enab Baladi released in March 2015, 268 Syrian publications (newspapers and magazines) have been launched since the revolution of March 2011. With internet access being limited in some parts of the country, these print titles perform the vital function of keeping the population informed during the war.
Given the security situation in Syria – as well as in other countries in the region such as Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt – the majority of the publications are based in Turkey. A large part of their work relies on a vast network of correspondents and independent journalists operating on the ground.
These media outlets and their journalists play an important role in keeping the Syrian population abreast of the latest developments in the country. However, they are forced to contend with a number of issues, including the daily risks associated with covering the news, the challenge of printing and distributing newspapers in the country, limited internet access and funding problems, to name but a few.
The two-day conference, which saw in-depth discussions on how the independent print media has developed in Syria, also served as a meeting place for journalists who have worked in conflict situations. The Syrian professionals were able to benefit from the experienced shared by their counterparts from Ukraine, Algeria, Lebanon and the Balkans.
As the session drew to a close, a working group proposed a series of recommendations:
- Improve coordination in order to develop synergies and cooperation, and exchange best practice;
- Study the needs and expectations of readers more closely in order to provide information tailored to the population;
- Develop websites and social media presence in order to grow readership;
- Work together in order to gain a legal status in the countries in which the newspapers have their offices (primarily Turkey) to secure legal protection;
- Develop alternative sources of funding in order to gain a measure of independence;
- Commit to establishing, and explore the possibility of entering into, a journalistic code of conduct.