Programme journey

My story
South Syria

“Syria needs neutral media that is reliable and nuanced. Biased media only fuels the fight.”

Syrians yearn for more nuanced reporting

“News is an inherent part of our lives given the context we are constantly living in… My media consumption spans as much as 12 hours a day. I follow the news daily and listen to and watch all kinds of programs. My TV is always on to catch recent updates. My interests range from economics, to cooking, to breaking news from communities and social issues. I follow many programs on TV, read updates on social media and news sites with my family.”

Syrian audiences have questioned the reliability of news through the years when the media itself was just as fragmented as the society. That explains our need to search and consume various news sources. Media I do trust are mainly local agencies that serve communities and publish news that uncover the realities, problems and solutions of our communities. I don’t trust most official TV channels and all the platforms that are constantly changing their position. I appreciate humanitarian reports or news that highlight important elements of the social situation and include information that informs people about our rights.¨

“The biggest problem of the Syrian dialogue is incitement through the media. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, whether it’s sectarian problems or lack of political participation. Many are opposed and divided by factors such as territory, identity, politics, stereotypes and more. As long as this continues, there is a threat to the media and society as polarisation grows and it seems like nobody is interested in any other opinion.

“This incitement in the media only puts people against each other more. Give our people reliable information and we will move towards each other again.”

We need understanding and consensus to rebuild this country. In my opinion, it starts with respect and spreading awareness about principles of human and fair behaviour, civic rights, religious issues and beliefs, ideas and politics. We need reliable, objective and independent news facilities where we have access to informative, accountable stories and build a culture of religious, political, and economic pluralism.”

“As a news-addict, I know exactly what is needed.”

If I were in charge of a media outlet

“Syrians are not only positive about pluralistic approaches to reporting, they also prefer a humanistic approach to the way news is delivered. That connects us as Syrians. Fortunately there are media that understand this. I realise that the media is the most powerful tool to influence the public and share their needs in a positive way. If I were a media manager, I would ensure that the media listens to the audience’s opinions and needs and incorporates that into the news. It is important that media are inclusive, engage different perspectives, and triangulate news from different parts of the region. This will enable journalists to create publications with content that is credible and responsive to society’s needs. We dream of media messages that would be meaningful and help build peace in our society.

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

My lessons learned

“By being aware of what we don’t have and what that leads to, the audience needs unbiased and balanced news. Talking about politics is good, but the focus should also be on the needs of our people, such as basic human rights and sharing our values in a fair way will unite us again.”

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This project was supported by SIDA 2016 -2021