TED Conversations

Abbad Diraneyya


This conversation is closed.

Syria: what should we do about the media?

Since the events started in Syria in march 2011, the media has been playing different and varying roles, either the government's or the main stream media. Born in a diaspora Syrian family with a lot of relatives inside the country, I can tell that non are speaking the truth, not even part of it. Seeing comments on news websites and here in Syria-related conversations, it's quite clear that people outside Syria doesn't actually have a least idea of what's "really" going up there.

Now, the problem is that, this media blackout is being exploited by both the government and the world great powers to gain their interests on the expense of the Syrian people, with the people of the world, even of the neighboring countries, not knowing anything about it, or being given very distorted picture of the situation.

So, what can we do about it? How can the people inside Syria deliver their voice to the world on spite of the media blackout? How could the truth be told?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 11 2013: The problem isn't lack of media coverage. There are plenty of voices coming out of Syria, through the occasional suicidal journalist, and common folk with access to the internet.

    The real problem is that the world plain and simple doesn't care.
    Syria was a backwater country before, and is now a backwater country with a terrible civil war raging inside it. There is no significant amount of oil to be found, and the world powers and citizens at large find the whole mess easier to ignore than address.
    Except the Russians I guess, which decided they have a vested strategic interest in keeping Assad in power, but I'm not sure the Syrian people want that type of attention.

    The world is apathetic. Always was, always will be.
    Aid may occasionally come to some of the chosen countries in case of natural disaster, but getting involved in a civil war is apparently asking too much.
    • thumb
      Oct 12 2013: It's true that people don't care much and wouldn't give much help. But still, what I look forward is at least the truth to be delivered, the people around the world to be getting a REAL picture of what's happening. The 'civil war' perspective itself, used by all commenters here, is actually untrue. It's only another part of the picture the media likes to deliver. That's why the voices of some journalists or common folk can't do much, as long as the media is responsible for choosing what you will here from them (well, no one from other countries is going, for example, to even find facebook and youtube news pages of people inside Syria).
      • Oct 12 2013: Why wouldn't you define it as a civil war?
        There is a constant flow of foreign funds and volunteers, true, but its still a largely internal conflict fought mostly by paramilitary groups that (officially at least) answer to no nation (except Assad's forces, which at this stage, are just the largest and best funded militia).

        The media tends to gravitate towards its own political agenda, which for most of the world, involves turning a blind eye to Syria.
        What I'm arguing, is that this isn't the source of the problem, but rather a symptom. The actual condition is complete and utter apathy.

        Its not an entirely one sided exchange. The media tells the people what to think, but the people also dictate to the media what they want to hear about. And both of them don't really care for some oil-less backwater, apparently, except for the countries right at the border.
        • thumb
          Oct 13 2013: Well, I wouldn't call it a civil war because, simply, it's not! All of this started in march 2011 as part of the Arab Spring wave in the region. It was inspired in the first place by the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, after successfully overthrowing two long-standing Arab regimes. At the beginning, it was peaceful protests against the government, then the violence broke out. However, the critical point still the same; it's driven by the people, to achieve the will of the people. On the contrary of the "terrorists" picture given by the media, the fighters in Syria are actually normal people who carried weapons to defend their homes from the security and army forces attacks. A true naming of this situation would be "violent revolution" that used to be peaceful (does that differ much from the "French revolution" for example?), however, the birth of "civil war" title was accompained with a whole campaign to demonstrate what's happening as a chaotic conflict between multiple factions, which is untrue.

          I realize that people doesn't care, this seems as a human nature; if even the people living just few kilometers behind the Syrian border are quite apathetic, it's not expected from those living on the other side of the earth to have much concern. Still, I am just more comfortable when they are getting the real picture, because it's indeed hard to see terrible horrors that none in the rest of the world is even hearing about (well, what the media tells on this regard is totally NOTHING).
      • Oct 13 2013: It may not be a complete mess yet, because the rebels are all more or less fighting for the same side against Assad, but the minute he's gone (if they ever manage it), its pretty obvious they'll turn on each other. Just like when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the moment the common enemy is gone, they'll turn on each other in a grab for power.

        Whether its driven by the will of the people is completely irrelevant at that stage, and even at the present stage to be honest. The armed groups are there to stay, and none of them are going to step down because they've been asked nicely.
        Once the fecal matter's hit the fan, the only thing that matters is force of arms. Everyone else is either swept aside or trod under a military boot.

        That's actually one of the reasons the media doesn't like talking about Syria. With more rebel groups than you can shake a stick at, with everything from secular moderates to religious fanatics, a fair amount of foreign backing, and a shia/sunni proxy war, it makes for a pretty complex and morally ambiguous picture.
        The media doesn't like ambiguous. Complex is hard to sell, it confuses the viewer. They much prefer to stick to simple black and white affairs that a child could comprehend. And this being the real world, where nothing is truly ever black and white, the media often oversimplifies things for the express purpose of making things less, shall we say, morally confusing.
        • thumb
          Oct 14 2013: We all realize this very well, because of the past experiences in the region and other countries (like Afghanistan, which we know closely since many Arabs fought there in the 1980s). Actually, the peaceful protests versus armed fighting was one of the most controversial issues inside Syria for around a year after the beginning of the event (another thing the media would never mention). Some people insisted to keep it peaceful, because they feared such risks which the weapons could bring, however, the size of support for the armed resistance started to drop up rapidly with time, as it's really not easy to convince people on keeping peaceful when they are shot with guns everytime they scream with their demands.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.