New media and ideology trap

In times of war and conflict, it is not easy to talk about independent or objective media. Media, generally, represents the ideologies of the conflicting parties. Media tells the stories of the conflict from the perspective of the ideology it represents.

Four media trends can be traced when discussing the Syrian situation. The first favors and promotes the regime’s interpretation of the crisis as a universal conspiracy, where two exes or projects are at play: the “resisting” or “rejectionist” project and the western imperialist project. This trend ignores the set of rights that drove this revolution.

The second trend is representative of an ideology where this crisis is interpreted as a sectarian and religious conflict. “Us” versus “them”. Shiites versus Sunnis. A virtuous Islamic State that should be resurrected versus a rival Shiite-Nusairi plot. And yet again, the truth is denied, old illusions are revived and a total denial of the same set of rights takes place by the media that support this ideological trend.

The third of these trends deals with the situation as though time has not moved and this is still a struggle between a revolutionary democratic project and a despotic, oppressive project. This trend can be widely traced in many post-revolution media organizations. This model overlooks the realities of the situations. It lies in order to cover or justify the mistakes and violations of the some of the revolutionaries regardless of their despotic and dark-ages like leaning. Thus, this type of media makes the same mistakes the ideologies the revolution erupted to fight in the first place have made.

A fourth trend that is noteworthy in this context can be traced in western and international media, which argues that the events in Syria are an internal “conflict”. This can be interpreted as attempt to avoid bearing any responsibility in protecting a people that being destroyed.

The pains and dreams of the people are lost amidst all those trends and their deceitful media.

In short, every media trend is reflective of an ideology. All these ideologies across the spectrum ignore the rights of the people as each of them expresses a certain perspective, as discussed earlier. The media in support of the regime expresses the interests of the regime; the media in support of the Islamic and leftist factions expresses old illusions; the media in support of the revolution expresses a certain desire; and the western media expresses a denial of responsibility.

Here, exactly, lies the important and actual role of journalism that we present, within the limits of our modest experience in “Rising for Freedom.” Not failing for the blindness of ideology, bearing the burden of searching for the truth and acting out of an integrated rights system are the foundations of the role we seek to play.

There should be no concessions as with regard to the human rights of the people and condemning crimes. There is no blind support to any faction. We have the courage to criticize and stress the responsibility of all. This is built on a platform of respect to the truth. There is no other option except the truth, regardless of the mentalities and leanings that we encounter.

The need for objective and responsible media in Syria cannot be over-stated. This media should free itself from vested interests, desires and illusions. It should respect diversity, plurality and promote freedom of expression and should be only driven by universally-accepted journalistic ethics and values.

Syrian media needs more than ever to bear its responsibilities and fulfil its ever-increasingly complex and challenging role as Syria becomes a battleground for competing ideologies, powers and interests.

The Syrian situation is unprecedented in its complexity. All of us who work in the media field or in public affairs bear an increasing responsibility to approach matters in a way that makes it more plausible to arrive at a resolution and make concessions where we can.

There are various daily media outlets dedicated to news as it happens. From print to radio, TV and new media. None of them can bear the burden of this on its own.  As monthly or semi-monthly publications, our role is not to do that. Our role, as a matter of fact, should geared toward building awareness around great questions, and, whenever we can – and I do not see why not – help to pave the way ahead and find a resolution to the situation. We have never believed in a military solution to this anyway.

Let’s expand the scope of what we do and talk about joy, the most persistent of all human needs; emphasizing the right to embrace and enjoy life, survival  and a normal sense of the little details. This is an important part of our mission too. It emphasizes our humanity amidst the overwhelming destruction that surrounds us all. We have written about recreation, often times, as an act of resistance, challenging death and resurrecting life. We have to re-emphasize joy every day .. and between and airstrike and the one that follows.

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