Programme journey

My story
Opposition area

“My journey towards professionalizing our outlet and the media sector was long and intense, but when I look back now, it has been a road towards lasting change.”

Journey part 1
– The media outlet is professionalizing –

Not the easiest job, but the most rewarding

“I became a managing editor to ensure that our editorial line highlights the issues faced by our audiences. We try to offer possible solutions as they don’t want to only hear about the problems.This is anything but an easy task, but as an outlet we are aware of how important our role is to write informative news that addresses the issues in the community and encourages our audience to find solutions.”

In 2016, our media outlet received support from Free Press Unlimited and Synergy to develop ourselves and create policies. Their guidance and coaching focused on many elements, including good governance procedures, transparency, security, financial and gender policies. After a few years of policy development, together we really internalised these policies and practiced good governance. Over the years, we have made the effort to train staff to keep institutional memory, but it was a challenge for our organisation when people continue to leave and those resources left along with them. In those moments, we struggled to implement efficiently and under time constraints when there has been high turnover. But, we are proud that more people are trained in this sector, and we try to maintain the knowledge sharing as much as possible. My part in this was to attend training courses in management, finance and ethics, all given by coaches and consultants who understood our situation well. Since then, we produced our own procedures and guide books and now have valid structures, an accounting system and even a management flow that allows us to be sustainable.”

True inspiration

We thought that a clear gender policy was very important, because we realised the dangers and violations women face just because they are women and work in the media.By developing policies, we try offer women journalists a safe working environment with equal treatment to men.”

“Our inspiration for the gender policy comes from a Syrian female journalist and the Executive Director of a media outlet. I quote her: “The majority of women journalists in Opposition area in Syria are also defenders of freedom of expression, human rights and justice. They are often subjected to harassment in an attempt to push them out of the media. This comes on top of the harassment, which often includes comments on the journalists’ appearance and private lives, especially in the past five years. Attacking our credibility really puts a strain on our work and restricts our activities in public and private life.”

“I share the quotes of this woman because she shows the injustice in journalism and I firmly believe that strong policies in the Syrian media is a first step to solve these abuses.”

Journey part 2
– The media outlet joins as a member of the media institution –

My personal media network

“With the drafting of the Code of Ethics I came into contact with large networks of independent journalists and other media institutions. Because of the contact with these people, I am never alone. I can always count on their support and they have gone through similar professionaliztion processes.

“Free Press Unlimited and Synergy provide us with the knowledge of committed local experts.”

My story

“I have been part of the media organisation since it was a grass-roots initiative. It gave me the opportunity to participate in training sessions when we were professionalizing our organisation. After joining an institution, my media organisation was a signatory to the Code of Ethics. If you want to be taken seriously by your audience, you need to uphold ethical obligations, which was a huge step forward in our credibility with our audiences. We became more and more involved in fora, to discuss with other media organisations on topics that matter to the entire sector. Look where we are now: we now organise foras, discussions ourselves with the objective to continue dialogue across the sector.”

“It is undeniable that the media play an important role in forming public opinion, but also in holding the accountability and aiming for more trust worthy and objective information. This is what the Syrian media has lacked for decades. While we are being supported to proffesionalises, we as a media organisation are contributing to the evolution of the media sector in Syria.”

Journey part 3
– Advocacy: How the EJSM program helped the Syrian media move forward –

“Our first goal was to grow from a grassroot initiative to a professional media organisation that also takes its role in opening dialogue between journalists and actors in the sector on standards of journalism. At the end of the day, what matters to me is its impact. We have gone from a loose network to a structured organisation that operates with credibility, accountability and sometimes collaboration with other organisations. We see that independent Syrian media organisations in our network now provide and advocate for access to news and information in a professional and ethical manner.”

“There is only one road to change: serving our audience with reliable information from media organisations that report in an ethical way.”

Download materials ›
We invite you to study the materials on the subject of professionalisation. The program makes these materials available to the media industry in Syria and other countries where press freedom is under pressure.

Thanks to the support of the EJSM programme


Good governance checklist for organisations here

Overview of professionalization approach by Synergy-Takamol here

My lessons learned

“I have to keep my mind open to new insights and recognise that I cannot do it all alone. Therefore I must have trust in outside professionals with relevant experience. I notice that training is only really effective in combination with coaching while developing. With the accumulated knowledge and internal discussions we can develop an internal policy. Only then can you think about proper implementation.”

“The impact on the sector is stronger when this is done in cooperation with other outlets, so we intend to keep finding opportunities for collaboration where possible.”

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This project was supported by SIDA 2016 -2021