Middle East

Syria profile - Media

Man reading Al-Baath newspaper
Image caption The press is largely controlled by the ruling establishment and is subject to strict censorship

The Syrian uprising has left a fractured media environment, split between areas controlled by the government, Islamic State militants and other armed groups.

Scores of journalists and citizen journalists have been killed since the start of the revolt in 2011.

Syria was the world's deadliest country for journalists in 2014, says Reporters Without Borders. Islamic State jihadists "enforce an information dictatorship" in the areas they control.

Foreign journalists have been among the captives whose murders have been shown in online videos posted by Islamic State militants.

In areas held by other groups, there is a flourishing, if somewhat chaotic, media scene.

Satellite TV is the most popular medium and non-Syrian TVs have big audiences. The government and ruling party operate broadcast and print media. Media in government-controlled areas are strongly supportive of the president.

Opposition satellite TVs broadcast from abroad and have proliferated since 2011; they include London-based Barada TV, UAE-based Orient TV and Al-Ghad TV.

Radio is a key platform for Syria's opposition media. At least a dozen stations operate online from abroad or on FM in rebel-held areas. Some are run by NGOs, with Western support.

The three main newspapers are state-run. Privately-owned titles are predominantly operated by figures with good government connections.

Dissent on the web

With around 5.9 million internet users by 2014 (InternetLiveStats.com), the web has emerged as a vehicle for dissent.

Facebook is the favoured platform for citizen journalists, activists, militia groups and supporters of all sides to disseminate news. Twitter has a much smaller take-up

There are heavy government controls in the form of filtering and surveillance.

The pro-government Syrian Electronic Army has targeted opposition and foreign websites in an ongoing series of high-profile cyber-attacks.

The press

Television

  • Syrian TV - state-run, operates domestic and satellite networks
  • Al-Dunya TV - private, pro-government
  • Orient News - opposition, via satellite, based in Dubai
  • Al-Ghad - opposition, via satellite, based in Cairo

Radio

News agency