by Bill Liederwald, Ronja Marten, Linda Otto, September 2017
Syria has a thousand-year-old history. The beginning of civilization, the time of Alexander the Great, the Ottoman Empire ... and history has left its mark. However, conflicts have been smouldering in the country for decades. In March 2011 everything changed. After the torture and arrest of some children who had painted regime-critical slogans on a school wall, nation-wide protests against the Assad regime sparked off. Today, the conflict is more than just a struggle between opponents of the regime and its advocates. It took on proportions towards religion, culture and long-felt hostilities and the rise of the Islamic state has added another dimension to it. People took long and dangerous routes to escape terror and violence. The entire world looks on Syria. But the only ones, who really know what’s going on, are the ones, who have faced it. Journalists all over the country are reporting on the incidents. And there has never been such a diversified media landscape in Syria. But due to the situation and the lack of organization they are all acting on their own and that’s what makes them vulnerable. Yahya Alaous and Adnan Al Mekdad fled from Syria to save their lives and the lives of their families and children. They agreed to talk to us about the situation in Syria and their life as Syrian journalists in Germany. Frequent intimidation, arrests, abductions and murders constitute an extremely grim environment for the media in Syria. So, we asked Yahya Alaous and Adnan Al Mekdad how they experienced press freedom in Syria.
Citizen Journalists cover the conflict in Syria from within. Now, that a lot of journalists had to leave the country, because of persecution and war, what are the opportunities and risks of this new style of reporting?
Now, that a lot of Syrian journalists are in Germany, there is the opportunity, that those experts can cover the war. But the German reality seems to be a different one.
Integrating foreign journalists into another media system isn’t easy, but without support their voice might be lost soon.