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Syrian TV moves towards independence

March 19th, 2007 · 6 Comments · Media

So first the banking sector was opened up, then we heard about radical economic reforms, now could the government do the unthinkable – make Syrian TV independent?

Private TV stations were allowed shortly after Bashar came to power, and the first major venture – Sham TV launched last year. But it was shut down in October. Many said, it was because the government was planning something.

And now, we see why. The government wants to create its own Al Jazeera – it worked for Saudi Arabia, which created Al Arabiyah, seen by many as relatively independent.

It makes sense. Syrians can watch satellite TV like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyah – it is cheap and easy to put up a satellite dish. And with every new Al Jazeera viewer, Syrian TV loses a viewer.

Majed Halima, head of Syrian TV: “Now we are proposing an act that would empower the cooperation with more financial and administrative independence so that it could compete with other Arab and international media outlets.”

Interestingly, one reason they are changing could be because of pressure from inside. Halima says he is worried about the loss of talented Syrian broadcasters, who go to Al Jazeera because they want more freedom. Indeed, many of Al Jazeera’s presenters and reporters are Syrian.

Damascus has one of the most vibrant independent TV production industries in the Arab world. Around one hundred companies – completely independent of government – operate in Damascus, producing some of the best programmes in the Arab world, which are sold to broadcasters across the Arab world.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Wassim // Mar 19, 2007 at 2.12 am

    Ehh…Inshallah!

  • 2 norman // Mar 19, 2007 at 3.51 am

    Why don’t they let the private secter start a TV station and be true indipendent ,that does not mean that the Syrian TV should not improve but i do not know why the Goverment has to be what represent Syria to the world , I see what the private secter does in Syria in making movies and TV shows and that makes me very hopfull for a real private TV station that can compete with other TV stations and being indipendent gives more credibelity to this station.

  • 3 Lorenz // Mar 19, 2007 at 9.58 am

    Finally, another step.
    This is great news, Syria needs to learn the media weapon. Israel and the US uses it against Syria, it is time to turn the tables..
    I just hope it won’t be of cheap quality like Syrian TV. Dubai TV/Al Jazeera/Al Arabiya should be examples of good quality.

  • 4 Anonymous // Mar 19, 2007 at 10.30 am

    independent tv stations, independent newspaers
    free speech IN SYRIA….

    You have to be joking..

    ASSAD is a leper in international diplomacy.
    What a loser!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 5 Wassim // Mar 19, 2007 at 11.58 am

    Lorenz..I would hardly hold up al Arabiya as an example of “good” quality. Propaganda from the Americans is still propaganda regardless how well presented and subtle it is!

  • 6 Lorenz // Mar 20, 2007 at 7.54 pm

    Wassim. I am sorry, i dont think you understood me quite well.
    What I meant with ‘good quality’ was not propaganda or so. I meant graphic content, transmission quality, sound quality, how well the news-anchors speak english, how good the studio’s look etc.

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