Ethical Charter for Syrian Media approves complaints mechanism

Abdel Ghani Erian during the filming of a demonstration in the city of Idlib.

The General Assembly of the Ethical Charter for Syrian Media (ECSM) officially approves an independent "complaints system" as an additional step to self-regulate the Syrian media sector, a first in Syria, and the entire MENA region.

Media plays a major role in shaping the public opinion, holding authorities accountable and bringing reliable information. In doing this, holding up ethical standards are very important. In the absence of inclusive and regulatory laws, the rapidly evolving Syrian media industry was in need of a monitoring organisation that develops and monitors ethical standards for the media.

Therefore the ECSM was set up, a Syrian association that aims to empower Syrian media institutions to practice the profession of media ethically and professionally. The 26* members, all independent Syrian media organisations, are committed to obey the charter’s principles: to produce media content free from hate speech; and enriched with the principles of gender equality, accuracy, credibility, honesty and fairness.

Next step

Now, in a special meeting on Thursday 28 January, the ECSM General Assembly approved a code of honor for the Syrian media, in the form of a complaints mechanism. When the system is launched, it will help hold the ECSM member accountable to obeying the charter principles. Representatives from media organisations, as well as readers and consumers of media, will be able to complain if they are concerned with the quality or the correctness of the content published by the media. By doing so, the complaints mechanism aims to take the concerns of the audience, readers and media makers seriously.

The ECSM complaints mechanism is a self regulatory initiative that will give its opinion on a complaint, publishes its decision on its website and will circulate its decisions on a wide scale by sending it to news agencies and to all Syrian media. The complaints system paves the way for organising the media sector, and will increase the professional quality of the press content published in the various Syrian media. On top of that it will help improve the media literacy of the audience.

The meeting was attended by representatives from sixteen media outlets, namely Halab Today Channel, Rozana Radio, Al-Kul, Nasaem Syria, Enab Baladi Newspapers, Hibr and Al-Ayyam, Ain Al-Madina and Al-Gherbal magazines, the Syrian Press Center, the Syrian Journalists Association, Shaam and Edlib News Networks, Syria Press sites, Horrya Press, and News Center.

This is a great step towards achieving the goal to provide access to news and information sources through independent, professional, ethical, responsible and accountable Syrian media organizations.

*Currently the ECSM has 35 members, however, due to economic and security constraints 9 members are in survival mode or became inactive, their membership is pending.

Photo in header: Youssef Ghraibi

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