Be Part of Our Success Story!
There are many reasons why you should partner with us to develop and implement media and civil society projects in North-East Syria and among the Syrian and Kurdish diaspora in Europe.
There are six areas of interest:
> Relative Press Freedom
> Gap in the Market
> Providing Work Opportunities
> Targeting the Future
Under the Autonomous Administration rule, North-East Syria has been relatively stable compared to the rest of the country. The presence of American and international forces, which are providing military support to the Syrian Democratic Forces in their battle against ISIS, means the region has become a de facto protected zone. This has, to some extent, prevented hostile parties, such as the Syrian regime, Russia or Turkey, from attacking the region. It makes media and CSO work and implementing long-term plans easier than anywhere else in Syria.
Relative Press Freedom
Unlike other parts of Syria controlled by the Syrian regime or Islamist forces, there is a relative freedom of press in NE Syria. Independent media projects are able to operate freely after obtaining a licence from the Autonomous Administration authorities. Apart from occasional isolated incidents, no major restrictions on media work have been reported over the past few years, and such incidents are usually related to local inter-party politics.
Gap in the Market
There is a significant need in the region for new, independent media and CSO projects that address the local population and their everyday needs and concerns. The majority of people in the region currently follow a handful of highly politicised and biased TV channels owned by the dominant political parties (KDP and PYD). The local population in the region need access to objective and reliable media content not influenced by political agendas. They also need more media content focused on their everyday problems and concerns, not just military and geostrategic issues.
There has been a sharp rise across Syria in extremist discourses and practices, and a corresponding rise in ethnic and sectarian tensions between different communities. Political and military conflicts and alliances are often presented or interpreted in sectarian ways, fueling nationalist and religious extremism, mutual hatred and racism on all sides. The need for independent media and rational, reconciliatory voices and inter-communal dialogue is more pressing than ever. And one of the most effective ways of bridging this gap of mistrust and hatred is by highlighting positive examples of diversity and coexistence between various religious and ethnic communities in Syria, both recent and historical. North-East Syria is a perfect place for examples of this, due to the region's diverse population and history.
Providing Work Opportunities
New media and CSO projects in the region will provide hundreds of local jobs, and will create significant ripple effects in the local economy through the services that these new projects will purchase from local shops and businesses. While this economic factor may be relatively small in scale, it will nonetheless provide a significant incentive for Syrian media and CSO workers to remain in or return to Syria, instead of working in neighbouring countries or Europe, as many of them currently do.
Targeting the Future
Many young and middle-age men in the region have either died in the war, joined armed forces or migrated abroad, leaving women and children as the dominant social groups. The ongoing war and the accompanying militarisation of society, coupled with the lack of education and work opportunities, have forced many women to stay at home, with not much to do, or to go back to primitive life styles, such as getting water from wells, baking bread at home, collecting firewood and so on. Radio or TV is often their only source of news, information as well as entertainment. Targeting women and children with responsible, informed, yet accessible journalism is of utmost importance for any media project in the region, because it is them who will build and lead the country in the future.
Arta has actively sought to collaborate with other organisations and media outlets. For instance, in 2016-18, Arta FM and Enab Baladi jointly produced a series of in-depth reports on Kurdish-Arab relations. Arta FM and Hara FM collaborated in 2017-18 to produce joint radio broadcasts focusing on inter-communal relations and countering extremism and sectarianism across north Syria. The name of the project was "Dialogue of the North".
In 2018 and 2019, Arta collaborated with local CSO’s in NE Syria to produce a series of high-quality video reports and awareness campaigns on IDP's, hate speech and fake news.
More recently, in 2021 Arta FM, Rozana and Enab Baladi developed and started implementing a new joint, innovative project that will produce engaging podcasts aimed at enhancing dialogue and community cohesion among Syrians.