Abbad Diraneyya


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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?

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    Oct 16 2013: There is No Doubt, People have always been kept handicapped, when there is real need of listening to the people voice Media Comes out with various theory and Influence and push their view which is forced by Government parties or influencers in the society, But what people want is always Peace,liberty and freedom which always comes with cost to them.

    Abbad what I feel is UN or Supporting Bodies which Work for Humanity and Liberty, but under no influence should come forward if they truly work for Human society it is test of all those bodies, How can they make the world realise what is really the view of the people and its Society.

    If nothing People like You and me can share opinions at least we can use the platform given to us by TED but some result should come forward.

    May everybody remain in Peace and love!
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    Oct 13 2013: First step: being aware of "americanisation" of media, and that the media is not objective.
    Second step: BIG STEP is to stop using social networks, because whole your privacy is in their hands.
    Third step: Being aware that USA, want to stop everything that has good prospects and to downgrade it. They also did that to mine country, Serbia.
    Fourth step: Being aware of cultural and history capacities of your country.

    Everything else is question of mutual support of citizen and focus in the same direction.
  • Oct 13 2013: Abbad the media is a business and there goal is to make money anyway they can. Your observation is more accurate than there account of the news. They do not care what happened, they only care about what will sell, what happened is almost irrelevant. Often the title in large print is what will sell and later towards the end of the article they may print what actually happened to protect themselves from being sued.
    It is hard to find honesty anywhere nowadays. About the closest thing you can find is they "honestly" want to make money anyway they can. Lejan is right, tell us what you think, that's what conversations is all about. Be prepared though the people in here can see right through a phony story.
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      Oct 16 2013: Thanks Keith. I've indeed summarized my view in former responses; I don't see it as a war, but as a revolution driven by the people. It got violent, and this caused a lot of problems, but it's still driven by the will of the Syrians. There's still a lot of details to go through, and a lot of thing to say about the fake picture given by the media in many ways. Even though I am happy that people here are intelligent and thinks first about anything they hear before believing it, even if it's my opinions. This where the problem started in the first place.
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    Lejan .

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    Oct 12 2013: Tell us your story about what is going on in your country and many of us will listen.
  • Oct 12 2013: We need inspect information and refient. For example we can compare alot of articles, and learn What those countries want to do by relating syria.
    I think when we refiect of information, we can choice correct media. Fnaly, i think ,we will get the ability of find truth
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      Oct 15 2013: It indeed helps a lot. The problem is that must people tend to not do it, but if they did, the results would be good I think.
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    Oct 12 2013: What to do with media? Whole planet is part of one big Truman Show. Siria is just one part of it.
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      Oct 13 2013: It's true. But our role is to work on changing that, even if a very little. You can't just stand by and watch.
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    Gord G

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    Oct 12 2013: The truth isn't a concern of the media...they report on events. There are events that are a thousand years old that are still seeking truth.
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    Oct 11 2013: "MEDIA" is nothing but a business machine to make profit, so no wonder !! Expecting anything else from it is utopia .
    You can start saying what you want to say right here now and also can use other social media though the oppositions of your views also are / will be doing so..... And people outside will be confused . I had similar experience with some recent events of my country as well.
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      Oct 12 2013: I think that's right, unfortunately. Actually, this conversation was one of the first ideas I thought about on the regard of using social media, but I am not sure how much can I do on my own.
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        Oct 12 2013: Nothing to worry , thinking " how much can I do on my own " ... That really doesn't matter . You just do whatever you can .

        What is your view about happenings of Syria ? I actually stopped following propaganda of those MEDIA Barons ......
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          Oct 13 2013: Thanks. I am doing this since it started, and I will try to keep doing the best I can.

          Maybe it's not easy to summarize a situation like this in few words. My personal view always was, and will be, that it's simply a people's revolution. In the first place, the events in Syria were peaceful protests inspired by the Arab spring revolutions that broke in early 2011, overthrowing four political regimes in the region until now. The protests then developed into riots, general strikes, and finally armed fighting. Although there's now few secondary factions in the conflict, like the Kurds, the essential situation is still defined by people inside Syria as a revolution against the government. There's indeed different views about this, and there's still some people inside Syria who supports the government, but the clear majority have this view; I guess this is the case of every revolution.
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    Oct 15 2013: What is the truth that you know, that we in America don't know? Describe the whole picture and the real picture of the Syria you know. What are the other countries seeking from Syria?
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      Oct 16 2013: It's hard to summarize it in few words here. The core perspective of the conflict viewed by the media is wrong, and many, if not the vast majority, are highly influenced by it.

      For example (talking about what other countries are seeking), on the contrary of the common thought, the fighters in Syria aren't supported by the west. Actually, the western governments supports only a plenty of groups which has been considered as west-loyal, they counts for few dozens out of hundreds/thousands of armed groups currently in the country. This's not for free, because there's nothing out there for free; what happens is that someone from a western intelligence comes to the gang's leader, he offers him money, weapons, and whatever he may wish, however, he must accept his group to work under a "military union", which would be totally lead by the west.

      The majority will refuse. When this happens, and when the west finds a group as unlikely to be loyal even if it accepted the offer, then they will "dry the sources". This term means that someone from the FBI or some western intelligence will go to the black market and buy massively all available weapons, so that the rebels have no source for supplies or ammo, and they start to lose their territories to the government or the west-loyal groups. With this manner, the western governments are working on killing the actually revolution, while the media is spreading to the people the totally untrue picture of; The West vs. Syrian regime.
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        Oct 18 2013: I wish I could see your sources, but sounds unlikely from what you have stated. Where did you gather this knowledge from or are you some kind of specialist on this subject?
  • Oct 12 2013: The media will always fan the flames of conflict to feed its readers "exciting" stories. How can you stop them? Perhaps by working at being unexciting. The TED TALK on treating violence like an infectious disease mentions "interrupters", people respected in their community who can interrupt the spread of violence. These "interrupters" could work at keeping peace between different factions in a town. The town leaders, and their citizens, could then say to the fighters " we are a peaceful town. Please take your fighting somewhere else." Peace could then spread from town to town; the same way we control a forest fire, section by section. Will it work? Ask any teacher how playground violence is minimized. Another TED Talk on why Mayors should rule the world would also be helpful. Too much has been made of the role of Assad. I think the role of Syrian Mayors and their councils can be much more effective in negotiating and maintaining local peace, and networking with other communities. I wish all Syrians a respectful, resolution to their conflicts.
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      Oct 13 2013: Thank you, may I should watch that talk. However, the problem in Syria maybe not exactly about peace. I know you feel about it like that because of the news reports or something like that, but this's not the situation, it's just another part of the media problem! The Mayors are only criminals appointed by the intelligence to maintain the control of the government, even if through detention, torture, and killing. The "terrorists" picture of the fighters is totally untrue; fighters are normal Syrians who decided to fight against the massive security & army attacks (several months after peaceful demonstrations demanding the overthrow of a 50-years old regime). So, the situation is actually more like a people uprising/revolution rather than the chaotic conflict given by the media, the problem isn't in the war, it's in the government.
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    Oct 12 2013: Abbad, It has always been and will continue that the forces in command will control the media and present their views. First objectives are always communications of all sorts, education, libraries, churches and leaders, a educated opponent is a dangerous opponent.

    This is not only a problem in Syria ... we suffer from much of the same in the USA. We are being fed one side of the story and any replies are immediately reacted to by spin doctors. As a example papers all carry the story of the "GOP shutdown" ... there are no stories on the statement of Obama that he will not negotiate ... ever.

    Computers / cell phones / and videos are strong counters to the media problem. Media is a whore who sells itself to the highest bidder. Always take each story with a grain of salt and then do your own research.

    There is no answer for the problem ... rest assured that the majority of the people are smart enough to NOT believe all they hear and only half of what they see.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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      Oct 12 2013: Thanks Bob.

      It's indeed a global problem that always happened, and possibly will always be happening, since the minority of people doesn't even care to think about what they hear before believing it. Maybe we can do very little or nothing about it, but this makes me very uncomfortable, as I was saying this media distortion since long years in my country and even the surrounding region (well, it maybe the hottest politically in the world). That's why I wanted to open this conversation, and see what other people may have to say about it. The only thing I can do is do is to hope for a change to some extent by the "new media" of the internet, and to do my part in telling the truth.
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        Oct 12 2013: One last thought. . History, as is news, is always written by the victor. Any challenges to the power that be" is always met with anger or fear. Just like the play ground bully ... he may not beat up the one who is strong and opposes him but he must beat up some one to make a point and keep others in check or all is lost.

        Proceed with caution .... doing the right thing is not always easy or safe.

        I wish you well. Bob.
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          Oct 13 2013: I think the right things are always hard and challangable; this is just how the world is like. If it were easy and safe, then the world should have been a much better place, but it is not. It's then our duty to work on changing this as much as we can, and possibly, we will be one day "the victor"!
  • 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.
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      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.
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          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.
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          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.