Four Syrian press bodies announced yesterday, Saturday, in a statement, their merger with the “Syrian Media Council”, after many coordination meetings between them.
The Council consists of the “Media Union of Aleppo and its countryside,” “The Media Professionals Association in Eastern Ghouta,” “the Syrian Journalists Association,” and the “Syrian Journalists Club”.
The statement stated that the objectives of the Syrian Media Council are to organize journalistic work, defend the rights and freedoms of journalists, provide them with support and care, and help them advance their professional development.
Ismail Al-Raj, the head of the Media Union of Aleppo and its countryside, said that the importance of this step lies in bringing together the four actors in this field, which share the goal of facing the challenges facing the press and media sector.
Al-Raj pointed out that the four merged bodies and institutions have accumulated experience in institutional and collective work, and currently they are focusing their efforts through the new council in order to unify the media discourse and defend journalists and media professionals inside Syria.
Regarding the possibility of journalists’ affiliation to the council, Al-Raj said: “The Syrian Media Council was established based on the agreement of organizations and bodies, and at the present time there is no intention to open the door for individual membership of journalists, but that does not mean that it is not committed to defending the rights of all journalists and media professionals, but the door will remain open for entry. Institutions and groups that wish to work within the council’s umbrella.
The press and media sector did not receive much attention from political parties and executive authorities in northwestern and northeastern Syria, unlike the multiple security and military institutions on which the support was mainly focused, which prevented reaching a true union or association concerned with the affairs of journalists and their problems. It makes the “Syrian Media Council” face great responsibilities.
It is noteworthy that Syria was classified by “Reporters Without Borders” in May of this year as the most dangerous country in the Middle East for journalists, and ranked 174th in the ranking of freedoms and journalistic work out of 180 countries.