Syrian Media Personalities Dodge The Cameras
By: Wissam Kanaan
Published Thursday, May 17, 2012
Damascus - It took the Syrian crisis only a few weeks to cause a split in the Syrian street.
The continuing violence has only intensified the polarization to the point that some media outlets have become platforms for settling scores between the opposing parties.
The same has happened on the internet, which has turned into a space where Syrian youth exchange accusations and insults, and where casual allegations of treason are common.
Some observers have even begun to mock the way Syrians debate, which often starts with political views and ends with sharp insults.
Ever since the first opposition conference was held last June at the Semiramis Hotel in Damascus, some opposition figures have refused to give any interviews to the pro-regime Addounia TV channel.
The Syrian channel has shown opposition figures turning away from Addounia’s camera, in order to gain sympathy from the audience.
As the crisis unfolded, many figures have barricaded themselves behind rigid positions towards some media outlets, depending on their political outlook.
For example, Syrian director Najdat Anzour, who is known for his support for the regime, has refused to give any statements to Al-Akhbar as a form of objection to its position, which he considers as hostile to the regime.
Journalist Ziad Ghosn, editor-in-chief of the official government newspaper Tishreen, has on many occasions refrained from speaking to some media outlets that he considers to be affiliated with the opposition.
Some political opposition figures have refused to bear witness to important events due to their objection to the inquiring media outlet, as was the case with both Yassin Haj Saleh and Fayez Sara.
Opposition scenarists Yam Mashhadi and Rima Fleihan have also refused interviews with Al-Akhbar about harassment and threats by regime loyalists that they experienced on Facebook.
A Syrian media figure who works at an Arab newspaper that is banned in Syria explains that “there are several reasons behind this issue, some of which are objective and resulting from a previous bad experience with these outlets.”
“For instance, some opposition figures agreed to give interviews to media outlets that are considered loyal to the regime. However, they were surprised when their interviews were edited and their statements were used in a different context,” he said.
One media personality, who does not want to be named, feels, however, that the media should not be dealt with as though they will deliberately misrepresent a person’s speech.
Now, after some Arab satellite channels practiced a kind of veto against moderate opposition figures, those calling for democracy have issued a similar verdict against media outlets that they disagree with.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.