Middle East

Syria profile - Media

Man reading Al-Baath newspaper Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The press is largely controlled by the ruling establishment and is subject to strict censorship

Syria has a complex and changeable media landscape, split between pro-government outlets and those run by armed groups and the unarmed opposition.

It remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says more than 200 journalists have been killed since the conflict began. Media workers have been targeted by armed groups and caught in crossfire.

In the first years of the uprising, a new and unregulated media landscape emerged in rebel-held areas. A subsequent loss of territory held by the rebels has forced some opposition media to close or relocate.

Islamic State group's media, largely reliant on the messaging app Telegram, were hit by the fall of its stronghold in Raqqa in 2017.

Outlets run by the Kurdish-led authorities, as well as privately-owned satellite TVs and radio stations, have emerged in the mainly-Kurdish region in the north.

Satellite TV is the most accessible medium and the preferred news source for Syrians. Opposition networks broadcast from outside Syria.

Radio is an important platform for opposition media. Outlets broadcast via the internet and smartphone apps, or on FM in rebel-held areas.

The three main newspapers are state-run. Opposition activists have launched newspapers and magazines.

Syria had 5.5 million internet users by 2017, representing 29% of the population (InternetWorldStats). Online media have suffered from poor infrastructure, filtering and online surveillance.

Social media are used by the government, the opposition and jihadist groups to deliver their messages. Among ordinary users, WhatsApp and Facebook are among the most popular platforms.

The press

Television

  • Syrian TV - state-run, operates domestic and satellite networks
  • Sama TV - private, pro-government
  • Orient News - opposition, via satellite, based in Dubai

Radio

News agency/internet

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