The syrian media incubator, a secure area for #journalists in #Syria : bit.ly/1jPRzFT #SyrianMI #mediadev16 pic.twitter.com/xC3XZ6N6h3pic.twitter.com/xC3XZ6N6h3
Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, citizen journalists and bloggers have worked hard to report on the situation in the country. As the only witnesses in a territory where the international press is banned and where information is manipulated by the various parties involved in the conflict, these media are up against violent repression.
Despite their brave determination, these journalists struggle to deliver reliable, high-quality information. Many do not have basic journalism training and had, at the beginning of the crisis in 2011, limited technical resources to produce or disseminate content. The biggest problem they face is the difficulty in travelling around the country to verify their information and bypassing censorship (power cuts, Internet control, FM signals under surveillance).
As the conflict has become more entrenched and in the face of a bloody repression, the peace movement has given way to armed conflict and an accentuation of tensions between communities. More than ever, free, independent media who represent all minorities are the key to national cohesion.
To support such media as they take on this challenge so crucial for the future of their country, and to work towards a democratic transition, CFI and its partners are helping to develop the professional skills of new Syrian media through the "media incubators" project.
Selected from known networks, for their experience but also in the interests of representation of minorities, the journalists can thus produce and disseminate quality information, develop their structure, and contribute to the emergence of a democratic alternative.
Special emphasis is placed on representation of all minority groups and inclusion of women.
The project offers training sessions on the production of reliable, balanced news, ensuring the new media are aware of their role in building national cohesion.
Training and support focus on the following areas:
Aleppo, Thursday, 11 September, 2014: Mohammed Alqasim, 25, a Radio Rozana correspondent, was starting an interview with an important rebel commander when a rival group opened fire, simultaneously killing the commander and Mohammed.
From 5 to 15 December, fourteen young field journalists from Syria who work for Radio Rozana will be taking part in a training course focusing on producing news programmes for the radio and the Internet.
In April, with the support of CFI, the Syrian Female Journalists Network (SFJN) organised a training workshop on producing radio programmes. The resulting transmissions were then broadcast on World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2015.
In late May 2015, Syrian media incubator in Gaziantep (Turkey) played host to around a dozen Syrian citizen-journalists at a workshop aimed at drafting the screenplay for their films, which are to be shown in Syria at the Pixel Mobile Film Festival.
Ever since the start of the uprising led by a section of the Syrian population in March 2011, citizen-journalists and bloggers across the entire country have joined forces in a bid to provide accurate reports of the situation.
Since it is no longer possible to access traditional news communication networks within Syria (radio, TV or print), a media incubator has been set up in Gaziantep (Turkey), open to journalists, distributors and producers working for Syrian media.
Chosen for its easy accessibility from Aleppo, this is a place dedicated to reflection, training and exchanges. It also offers technical facilities (recording studio, computer equipment, cameras) and secure connections.
In parallel, the project aims to support the distribution of newspapers and radio broadcasting in Syria.
Since it was opened in the summer of 2014 by CFI, the Syrian Media Incubator, which is situated in the Turkish city of Gaziantep lying close to the Syrian border, has provided support and guidance to every Syrian media outlet seeking to report on the situation in Syria and promote peace in their country.
In June 2015, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF – Reporters Without Borders), CFI's partner under the Syrian media incubator scheme, headed up a mission to make connections for numerous media close to the Syrian border in Turkey more secure. We caught up with Jean‑Marc Bourguignon, who is RSF's lead on media security.
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.
At the end of December 2015, Radio Aleppo Media Center will broadcast over the FM airwaves in the cities of Aleppo, Idlib and Hama .
To deal with the situation created by the crisis, the new Syrian media need to become structured and organised.
Three conferences – attended by around 30 to 40 professionals – are held on two main themes:
The Syrian-international coordination committee met in Paris and Brussels at the end of January
After coming to an end on 30 April 2016, the Syrian Media Incubator project is now the subject of an independent final appraisal being carried out by the Belgian-based research centre Cota, which was chosen following an invitation to tender.