Syrians need diverse news and independent media

Syrian reads newspaper

The desire of Syrians across the country for plurality of news sources is, to a great extent, a clear indication of their skepticism and concern with the current situation in Syria and the state of the media.

Recent research (September 2020) on Syrian audiences shows that people are consuming more from online and social media platforms as well as messaging apps. Results indicate that Syrian audiences want more reliable news. Due to the widespread lack of trust in the media, Syrians have started to deliberately seek multiple sources to confirm the credibility of information. Nowadays, more Syrians avoid biased media sources that include hate speech, and show a desire for broader societal, human-centered topics, other than ‘hard news’.

Research Conclusions

  1. Neutral news matters. There is a desire for balanced news. Balanced news items will be influential in how Syrians understand their world.
  2. There is a general perception that independent media can bring peace and help to unify the Syrian people across multiple dividing lines.
  3. There is a need for more support for independent media. Working to build independent media that emphasises freedom from government and political control is highly valued, with a specific emphasis on the production of unbiased and nuanced information. In general media professionals find that more assistance and development in the sector is needed.
  4. The clearest indicator of Free Press Unlimited’s contribution to the independent media sector is the popularity and quality of the partners’ content in the Syrian media.

This research has been conducted by Jouri research company commissioned by Free Press Unlimited in the fall of 2020. The research spanned four regions of Syria: Northeast Syria, Northwest Syria, Central & Southern Syria, and the diaspora (Turkey) and included six different research methods, including clinics, surveys and interviews.

The executive summary and recommendations can be downloaded here: 

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Media in shrinking civic spaces