Enrico De Angelis https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/17686/all cached version 11/02/2019 16:19:11 en The crowds and the individual: why we should rethink how we debate complex issues on social media https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/enrico-de-angelis-yazan-badran/crowds-and-individual-why-we-should-rethink-ho <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is not an attempt to relitigate this episode, but to critically reflect on the underlying dynamics of social networks that contribute to such outcomes.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/8.-Television-trash-874x492_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/8.-Television-trash-874x492_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Picture by Zoé Carle, with permission. </span></span></span>Last November, an online discussion between two prominent Syrian writers triggered waves of recriminations across and against both. The accusations and counter-accusations between Razan Ghazzawi, a political dissident and feminist activist, and Yassin Haj Saleh, a leftist political dissident, reignited earlier discussions on the role of feminist struggle in the Syrian uprising and the patriarchal nature of its elites. The focus was on the balance, legitimacy and place of the different intersecting struggles within the uprising: specifically (and most of all) those concerned with gender and class.</p><p>The original conflagration was started by an outrageous Facebook post by a young opposition Syrian activist and writer that carried a call for the rape of a pro-regime woman in Gaziantep, Turkey. This was as blatant an example as there could be of the pervasive patriarchy in the so-called secular Syrian oppositional sphere and the ubiquity of symbolic (as well as physical) violence against women in Syria in general.</p><p>The comment itself, as well as the cultural strains it represents, is unacceptable and should be condemned, and the failure to unequivocally and immediately condemn it constitutes in itself an issue to be discussed.</p><p>At the same time, to view this violence solely from the lenses of gender collapses the complexity of the issue and its intractable link to class, culture and the broader context of violence in the country. Indeed, there are serious, pertinent, and difficult, debates to be had about the intersection of these struggles in Syrian context. This complexity must be taken into consideration if the aim is to bring about a serious cultural transformation in this domain.</p><p>Unfortunately, what could have been a significant opportunity for a fruitful (if conflictual) debate gave way to a series of recriminations, personal accusations and counter-accusations that mainly furthered the polarisation. Of course, to ignore the issue was indeed not an option. Moreover, we hope that there is still a chance that what appears now as a poisoned, divisive, and polarized battleground will be translated at some point into a discussion in which different positions can be articulated and some common ground over the issue of women in Syria and specifically in opposition circles can be found.</p><p class="mag-quote-right">Our chosen focus on communication processes may seem trivial to some given what is at stake</p><p>This is not an attempt to relitigate this episode, but to critically reflect on the underlying dynamics of social networks that contribute to such outcomes. In the hope, perhaps, that in the future similar problems can be contained or partially avoided. Indeed, this is only the latest of many cases on Syrian social media spheres that followed a largely similar pattern.</p><p>Our chosen focus on communication processes may seem trivial to some given what is at stake. However, we believe that how, where, and by whom these discussions are conducted can have a huge impact on the outcomes and, therefore, on the creation of a larger consensus or, as in this case, the recognition of what Syrian women have to struggle with on a daily basis.</p><p>This last case, among many others, highlights a significant paradox in how we use social media networks and the effect it has on concrete social struggles. On the one hand, the episode highlights a monumental shift in the discursive power enjoyed by Syrian intellectuals before and after the 2011 uprising. This is, in no small part, due to the status that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter acquired as the main sites of discursive struggle in the sphere of Syrian revolutionaries and the site to express contentious politics. Social media networks equipped activists and intellectuals, like Ghazzawi and Haj Saleh, with unprecedented avenues to raise issues of importance for their primary constituencies and their connected networks. In a context of a brutal military conflict, fragmentation and exile of Syrian activists and intellectuals, these nascent spaces could arguably play a significant role in the shaping of new political blocs, opportunities and subjectivities.</p><p>On the other hand, engaging with these discussions on social media has a price and presents us with many issues:</p><p>One is the inherent individualism embedded in these forms of communication. Social media inevitably place the emphasis on personal authenticity and individuality, rather than collectives and groups. Thus, debates become very emotional and person-centered. Such a mode of communication foregrounds the actor above the issue, and erases the necessary distance between the person of a political actor and the (collective) ideas s/he represents. And thus, it quickly degenerates into the level of quarrel between single individuals, with the underlying political disagreement languishing in the background.</p><p class="mag-quote-left">Engaging with these discussions on social media has a price</p><p>In the example above, this is translated into the activation of the relevant networks of both actors (respective circles of friends and like-minded people) into a defense based largely on personal loyalty and affinity. It is not relevant whether it is a conscious strategy or not as it is an almost automatic process. But it was clear that many people were not expressing solidarity or attacking on the basis of the ideas that were supposed to be at the core of the debate, but rather because of their personal relation with the two main actors of the discussion.</p><p>The brevity and the immediacy of a Facebook post or a tweet facilitate misinterpretations and misunderstandings, so that many people are pushed even further to take position on the basis of their sympathies rather than on their knowledge about the topic at discussion. When some longer and less emotional clarifications came, it was already too late, as the machine of comments and insults was already at its peak and the debate was framed only along a “with” or “against” dynamic.</p><p>This tendency towards a polarisation of the debate is further reinforced by the clustering dynamics of social networks creating echo-chambers of like-minded individuals largely isolated from other groups. Networks can give us the illusion that we can reach anyone, but we almost always end up reaching the same people with the same convictions. Networks almost never converge into a more heterogeneous movement, because the investment to articulate this process needs other forms of dialogue and organization. It is quite relevant, for example, that the debate around the specific case we are considering here was often divided into two different spheres: one in Arabic, and one in English.</p><p>In other words, pro-feminist networks on Facebook or Twitter will meet many difficulties in reaching (and convincing) people who think in a different way. Worse still, when one always frequents people who have the same cultural background, one forgets what is needed to communicate with people who do not share crucial elements of that background.</p><p>Another problem is the evasiveness and immediacy of the responses and tools at the disposal of such networks: likes, comments, shares, expressions of solidarity etc. can only sustain attacks on opponents or express solidarity but for a brief moment. After which the actor at the center of the storm is left isolated to deal with the aftermath of what could only be a traumatic episode. The brevity and immediacy with which these tools are used privilege again the emotional short-term response and leaves no room for reflection or organising. It solidifies the in-group but without the mechanisms to produce viable alternative discourses, and cross sectional collaborations and solidarities; it thus leaves both groups even more vulnerable to future challenges.</p><p>The political scientist Jodi Dean in her book “Crowds and Party” makes this point very clearly: being part of a collective (like a party or any other structured organization) is also an affective matter. Having a collective around provides one with a shield when crowds (virtual or not) dissipate and disappear. Expressions of solidarity (likes, tweets, etc.) on social media do not provide this shield and leave the individual activist alone to fight the consequences (accusations, insults, acts of “betrayal”). In this context, the psychological pressure and feeling of isolation may be very difficult to bear. Solidarity on social media can alleviate it, but not resolve it.</p><p>All these factors should be considered when we engage in complex and relevant debates relying on social media as a privileged medium. To be aware of such consequences is particularly relevant for Syrians, given the prominence that these platforms acquired to discuss and connect people geographically dispersed and often still lacking stronger forms of collective organizations.</p><p class="mag-quote-right">Other strategies must be experimented and this case should serve us as a lesson</p><p>Alternatives are always available, but they require another, often less visible, collective labour: collective statements and organized media campaigns; engaging of existing actors to negotiate with them before going public; more centralized and stable networks; and, of course, the establishment of more structured organization. In all these cases, the use of social media comes after a patient collective organizing, and should not be the first step.</p><p>Changing the ways we communicate with each other is of utmost importance if we consider the weak and fragmented character of Syrian secular opposition circles nowadays. Such a reflection inevitably involves the leading voices articulating these important issues (gender, class, among others) to take their responsibility in elaborating their positions and points of difference and to seek viable alliances and wider solidarity networks.</p><p>These issues, if debated and articulated collectively, offer invaluable opportunities to articulate new subjectivities and political blocs. The patriarchal culture, often hidden and denied, among many Syrian opposition circles is a reality. In order to change that reality, among many others, other strategies must be experimented and this case should serve us as a lesson.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/zaina-erhaim/battle-between-syrian-secular-activists-and-feminists-we-all-los">The battle between Syrian secular activists and feminists: we all lose</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/Enrico-de-angelis-yazan-badran/syria-social-media-communication">الجماهير والفرد: إعادة النظر في كيفية مناقشة القضايا المعقدة على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia digitaLiberties North-Africa West-Asia Syria Civil society Democracy and government Internet social media communication Yazan Badran Enrico De Angelis Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:52:23 +0000 Enrico De Angelis and Yazan Badran 115674 at https://www.opendemocracy.net اعادة التفكير بالاعلام السوري https://www.opendemocracy.net/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media-arabic <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="rtl">التغيرات التي طرأت على المشهد الاعلامي السوري في السنوات الأخيرة تمثل قطيعة كاملة مع الماضي. بينما حصلت هذه التغيرات في بلدان عربية أخرى بصورة تدريجية وفي فترة سابقة للانتفاضات الشعبية، في سوريا كان التغيير فجائيا وسريعا. <em><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media">English</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <a name="logo"></a><p style="background-color: #ededed; padding: 14px; border: 1px dotted #003399;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0"><img style="float: right; border: 3px solid #fff; margin: 0px 10px 10px 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u537772/UprisingLooinkIn-small-b%20%281%29.png" alt="Looking inside the uprising" width="120" /></a> This article is part of <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0"><em>Looking inside the uprising</em></a>; a joint project between <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/">SyriaUntold</a> and openDemocracy.<br /><br /></p><p></p><p dir="rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/553176/souriatna3_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/553176/souriatna3_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="248" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span>الانفجار الحاصل في كم المعلومات التي يبدعها ويشاركها السوريون منذ بداية عام ٢٠١١ هو احدى أهم الظواهر المرافقة للاحداث على الأرض. في الحقيقة، لا يمكن للمرء أن ينكر أن فتح المساحات العامة للنقاش بالاضافة إلى الانتشار والتعددية الكبيرة للمحتوى المنتج قد ساهمت بشكل كبير في تغيير حياة ونظرة عدد كبير من السوريين في داخل وخارج البلاد.</p> <p dir="rtl"> خلال الـ٤٠ عام الماضية كان احتكار النظام السوري للمعلومة شبه مطلق. مقارنة بالبلدان المجاورة، كمصر، فان المشهد الاعلامي السوري لم يعرف الا بعض التغييرات الشكلية منذ عام ٢٠٠٠. ظهور بعض وسائل الاعلام الخاصة، بعد <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=762">المرسوم</a><a href="http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=762"> </a><a href="http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=762">رقم</a><a href="http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=762"> ٥٠</a></span>، لم يكن له تأثير يذكر على هوامش النقاش العام وحرية الاعلام. وسائل الاعلام الخاص، المملوكة من قبل رجال أعمل مرتبطين بالنظام أصلا، كانت هوامش الحرية الاعلامية فيها أقل حتى من تلك الحكومية.</p> <p dir="rtl"> فترة <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48516">ربيع</a><a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48516"> </a><a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48516">دمشق</a><a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48516"> </a></span>هي الفترة الوحيدة التي جرأت فيها بعض وسائل الاعلام، وأغلبها حكومي، على تحدي النظام. وبعد تلك التجربة أصبح النقد العلني، في مهنة الصحافة بشكل خاص، ممنوعا منعا باتا، خاصة في وسائل الاعلام الخاصة. تلك منها التي حاولت أن توجد مساحات جديدة للتعبير تم اغلاقها، مثلما حدث مع تلفزيون أورينت في ٢٠١٠. بمعنى آخر، حتى عندما كانت بعض أوجه النقد العلني مسموحة في <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15948/the-whisper-strategy-(drama-and-power-relations-in">المسلسلات</a><a href="http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15948/the-whisper-strategy-(drama-and-power-relations-in"> </a><a href="http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15948/the-whisper-strategy-(drama-and-power-relations-in">التلفزيونية</a><a href="http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15948/the-whisper-strategy-(drama-and-power-relations-in"> </a></span>أو في الصحف الساخرة (مثل <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en/syrian-creative/1877"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">الدومري</span></a>) كانت الصحافة السياسية تحت القبضة الأمنية بشكل كامل.</p> <p dir="rtl"> انتشار الانترنت في سورية، الذي حصل بشكل متأخر حتى مقارنة بالبلدان العربية الأخرى، لم يتبع نفس الخط الذي اتبعته الدول المجاورة. النظام السوري قام بملاحقة ناشطي الانترنت بقسوة لا مثيل لها، وقام بمنع أي محاولة لتكوين مجتمعات تدوينية. فيسبوك ويوتيوب كانا محجوبين منذ عام ٢٠٠٧، وحتى إن كان السوريين قادرين على الوصول اليهم من خلال برامج البروكسي لم يكن للموقعين أي دور فاعل كأداة سياسية قبل ٢٠١١.</p> <p dir="rtl"> في سوريا، كان الفضاء الافتراضي تحت هيمنة مواقع مثل سيريا نيوز، شام برس، دي برس، وغيرها. هذه المواقع كانت الفرصة الأولى للسوريين للتدرب على التجربة التفاعلية على الانترنت. في هذه الفترة، بنما كان المصريون يفتتحون مدونات وصفحات فيسبوك، كان السوريون يفتتحون مواقع اخبارية في محاولة لفتح مساحات جديدة للتعبير<a class="sdfootnoteanc" href="#sdfootnote1sym"><sup>1</sup></a>. على الانترنت كانت هوامش الحرية أكبر بقليل منها في الاعلام التقليدي، ولكن في أي حال، كان النظام السوري يتحكم بسهولة بالمواقع الاخبارية المحلية عبر الضغط على محرريها ومموليها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> <strong>الزلزال الاعلامي في ٢٠١١</strong></p> <p dir="rtl"> كل هذا تغير خلال الأشهر الأولى من عام ٢٠١١. في ٧ شباط قام النظام السوري برفع الحجب عن موقعي فيسبوك ويوتيوب. مدفوعين بتجربة النشطاء المصريين والتونسيين، اجتاح السوريون وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي تلك بالآلاف، مؤسسين صفحات وتجمعات سرية وعلنية للتواصل والعمل على تأسيس مبادرات سياسية. منع النظام للصحفيين الأجانب من دخول البلد ومن أي <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U">تغطية</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U"> </a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U">اعلامية</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U"> </a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U">للمظاهرات</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U"> </a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U">الحاصلة</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media#.VAg_ICjEh5U"> </a></span>كان له دور كبير في زيادة اعتماد السوريين على هذه التقنيات الجديدة.</p> <p dir="rtl"> جيل جديد عفوي ظهر من الصحفيين المواطنين الذين يغطون الأحداث على الأرض عبر كاميراتهم الرقمية وهواتفهم الخلوية، ويستعملون الانترنت كالمنصة الأساسية لتوزيع عملهم.</p> <p dir="rtl"> ولكن الاعتماد على الاعلام الجديد من دون تدريب حقيقي ومن دون تنسيق كاف مع مؤسسات الاعلام التقليدي كان له ثمنه. في كثير من الأوقات كان المحتوى المنتج من قبل الصحفيين المواطنين <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/patrick-cockburn-whose-hands-are-behind-those-dramatic-youtube-pictures-6289808.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">يتهم</span></a> بانعدام المصداقية والمبالغة. اضافة الى ذلك، كان المحتوى يستخدم بشكل انتقائي من قبل وسائل الاعلام الأخرى لخدمة مصالحها الخاصة. الاعلام العالمي مال الى التركيز على العنف بشكل حصري وقام <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/estella-carpi/syria-when-representational-violence-is-as-ruthless-as-political-violen">بتأطير</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/estella-carpi/syria-when-representational-violence-is-as-ruthless-as-political-violen"> </a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/estella-carpi/syria-when-representational-violence-is-as-ruthless-as-political-violen">الصراع</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/estella-carpi/syria-when-representational-violence-is-as-ruthless-as-political-violen"> </a></span>على أنه صراع مسلح بين الجيش السوري والفصائل الاسلامية المسلحة مع اهمال العناصر الأخرى. اكتشف السوريون بعد دفع ثمن باهظ أن المحتوى المنتج من قبل أفراد ليس كاف، في أغلب الأحوال، لبناء خطاب خاص بهم. غياب السياق في ذلك المحتوى، بالاضافة إلى تشتت النشطاء في مجموعات وصفحات متعددة جعل من الصعب على أي مراقب خارجي (أو حتى على السوريين أنفسهم) أن يفهم ما يجري بوضوح.</p> <p dir="rtl"> للتغلب على تلك المعضلات، قام السورييون تدريجيا بتنظيم أنفسهم بطريقة أكثر مؤسساتية. منذ منتصف عام ٢٠١٢، بدأت العديد من <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://alhayat.com/Details/582061">الاذاعات</a><a href="http://alhayat.com/Details/582061">،</a></span> <a href="http://www.aljazeera.net/news/reportsandinterviews/2014/5/1/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B5%D8%AD%D9%81-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D9%8A%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%87%D9%86%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D9%85%D9%88%D9%8A%D9%84"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">الصحف</span></a> والمجلات <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/against-odds-syria-flourishing--201483094530782525.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">بالازدهار</span></a>. اكتشف السوريون ضرورة انشاء مؤسسات منظمة كبديل عن شبكات الصحفيين المواطنين. كانت الانترنت - وافقيتها المزعومة - قد أظهرت قصورها وشعر العديد من الناشطين بضرورة العودة إلى الوسائل الأكثر تقليدية في صناعة الخبر. أولئك الذين يعملون اليوم في الاعلام السوري الناشئ يعتبرون أنفسهم صحفيين لا ناشطين ولديهم العديد من التحفظات على عملية انتاج الخبر لدى الناشطين وعلى قصورها مهنيا.</p> <p dir="rtl"> بعد سنوات من حرب دمرت النسيج الاجتماعي في البلد، التيار الجديد من الصحفيين السوريين يعتبر أن الأهمية في هذه اللحظة هي للتركيز على المستقبل والبدء بعملية اعادة بناء المجتمع السوري. الاذاعات والصحف السورية اليوم تميل إلى انتاج نوع من "الصحافة الاجتماعية"<a class="sdfootnoteanc" href="#sdfootnote2sym"><sup>2</sup></a> التي تهدف إلى تذكير السوريين بما يجمعهم لا ما يفرقهم. هذه النوع من الصحافة يقوم بالتركيز على المجتمعات المحلية، قصص الناس العاديين، وعلى تقديم النصائح لأمثل الطرق في التعامل مع مشاكل الحرب.</p> <p dir="rtl"> لم يمر وقت في تاريخ سوريا كان فيها المجال الاعلامي بهذا التنوع والغنى. شبكات الصحفيين المواطنين, الصحف الالكترونية والمطبوعة, المواقع الالكترونية, مجموعات الفيسبوك, الاذاعات, المدونين والناشطين الفرديين, محطات التلفزة, مواقع التجميع والارشفة الالكترونية: جميع هؤلاء يساهمون في تشكيل مساحة تعددية مذهلة لتبادل الحقائق والآراء. بالرغم من هشاشة هذه البيئة الثقافية ومن الظروف الصعبة المحيطة بها, فهي المساحة التي يتم فيها تشكيل صورة سوريا الجديدة والتفاوض عليها.</p> <p dir="rtl"> <strong>ما هو دور الاعلام السوري في المستقبل؟</strong></p> <p dir="rtl"> وسائل الاعلام ليست فقط أدوات لتعبئة الجماهير, بل هي واحدة من مساحات النقاش الأساسية لدى السوريين التي يتم استعمالها في تشكيل سردية ما يجري الآن في البلاد, وبشكل أخص, ما يجب أن ينتج عن ذلك فيما يخص شكل سوريا المستقبلي.</p> <p dir="rtl"> لهذا السبب, فان مبادرة “<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">الانتفاضة</a></span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">: </a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">نظرة</a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0"> </a><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">نقدية</a></span>”, التي يتم رعايتها بشكل مشترك من قبل <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en">سيريا</a><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en"> </a><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en">أنتولد</a><a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en"> </a></span>و أوبن ديموكراسي, قامت بتخصيص مساحة منها لتحليل المشهد الاعلامي السوري بكل مظاهره المتغيرة منذ عام ٢٠١١.</p> <p dir="rtl"> احدى النقاط البالغة الأهمية تتعلق بالاقتصاد السياسي لوسائل الاعلام الناشئة تلك. اليوم, هذه الوسائل الاعلامية تقوم بشكل أساسي على تمويل من قبل حكومات ومنظمات غير حكومية أجنبية. هذا يعنى أن معظم تلك المؤسسات الاعلامية تعتمد على هذه الجهات لتحقيق استدامة اقتصادية على المدى البعيد.</p> <p dir="rtl"> دور الناشطين الالكترونيين, تأثير هيكلية الشبكات الاجتماعية, والديناميات المتغيرة للمجال العام الافتراضي في سوريا -- هذه أيضا مواضيع تستدعي تحليلا معمقاً لبناء صورة أشمل للوضع السوري.</p> <p dir="rtl"> الصحافة السورية تمر بتغييرات هائلة فيما يتعلق بتنظيم العمل, الثقافة المهنية, وطرق انتاج المحتوى. هذه التغيرات, كعناصر مهمة من النظام الاعلامي محتمل مستقبليا, لا يجب أن تكون حكرا على الدراسة الأكاديمية, بل يجب أن تكون موضع حوار بين السوريين أنفسهم. ومن هذا المنطلق فاننا نتمنى أن تشكل مبادرتنا هذه حافزا مهماً للمضي الى الأمام في هذا المجال.</p> <p dir="rtl"> يمكن لوسائل الاعلام أن تلعب دوراً حاسما في انهاء النزاعات. في الوضع السوري بشكل خاص, كصراع تطور الى نزاع دولي لم يبق فيه للسوريين أي صوت, فان هذا المجال الاعلامي الناشئ يمثل المساحة الوحيدة التي يمكن لها أن تعبر عن آراء السوريين وأن تسمح بتأطير الأحداث الجارية من وجهة نظرهم.</p> <p dir="rtl">&nbsp;</p> <p dir="rtl"> --- </p> <p> <a class="sdfootnotesym" href="#sdfootnote1anc">1</a><sup></sup> Enrico De Angelis، “Syrian News Websites: a Negotiated Identity”، <em>Oriente Moderno</em>، 1، 2011.</p> <p> <a class="sdfootnotesym" href="#sdfootnote2anc">2</a><sup></sup> Enrico De Angelis, “L’évolution du journalisme citoyen en Syrie : le cas des web-radios”, <em>Moyen Orient</em>, January 2014.</p> <p class="sdfootnote">&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media">Rethinking Syrian media</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/leila-nachawati/syria-and-emergence-of-grassroots-artistic-production">Syria and the emergence of grassroots artistic production</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/yazan-badran/uprising-and-syria%E2%80%99s-reconstituted-collective-memory">The uprising and Syria’s reconstituted collective memory</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/donatella-della-ratta/importance-of-telling-syrian-stories-as-they-should-be-told">The importance of telling Syrian stories as they should be told</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/samer-al-qatrib/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AB%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%B1%D8%A4%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89">الثورة السورية: رؤية من الأعلى</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Syrian media social media Enrico De Angelis Arabic language Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:49:24 +0000 Enrico De Angelis 86295 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Rethinking Syrian media https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Citizen journalism rocked the foundations of the Syrian mediascape. Activist videos were on every news channel, yet ordinary Syrians were still unable to tell their stories as they saw it. An introduction to '<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">Looking inside the uprising</a>' and its feature on the use, impact and effect of new media on the Syrian uprising.<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/enrico-de-angelis/rethinking-syrian-media-arabic">&nbsp;بالعربي</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <a name="logo"></a><p style="background-color: #ededed; padding: 14px; border: 1px dotted #003399;"><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0"><img style="float: right; border: 3px solid #fff; margin: 0px 10px 10px 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u537772/UprisingLooinkIn-small-b%20%281%29.png" alt="Looking inside the uprising" width="120" /></a> This article is part of <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0"><em>Looking inside the uprising</em></a>; a joint project between <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/">SyriaUntold</a> and openDemocracy.<br /><br /></p><p></p><p class="western" lang="en-US"><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/553176/souriatna3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="souriatna"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/553176/souriatna3.jpg" alt="Issues of independent media Souriatna [our Syria] and Enab Baladi, amid the rubble in Idlib. From Souriatna's facebook page." title="souriatna" width="460" height="248" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Issues of independent media Souriatna [our Syria] and Enab Baladi, amid the rubble in Idlib. From Souriatna's facebook page.</span></span></span>The last few years in the Syrian media landscape have constituted a strong rupture with the past. While in other Arab countries such changes happened more gradually, and well before the 2011 uprisings, in Syria the transformation has been both more sudden and rapid.</span></p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The abrupt explosion of circulating content, produced and exchanged by Syrians from 2011 onwards, is certainly one of the most remarkable phenomena of the uprising.</span></p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> In fact, it is hard to deny that the opening up of public spaces to discussion as well as the sheer spread and diversified production of content has changed the life and the perceptions of a great number of Syrians both inside and outside the country.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> For more than forty years before the uprising, the monopoly on information imposed by the regime was almost absolute. Compared with neighbouring countries such as Egypt, the media landscape in Syria underwent only small, cosmetic changes during the 2000s.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> The emergence of some private media, made possible in 2001 by <a class="western" href="http://www.arabmediasociety.com/?article=762">Decree 50</a>, did not widen the margins of public debate and media freedom. Private media, owned by businessmen chained to the regime, often had fewer margins of freedom than governmental media.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> Only during the <a class="western" href="http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=48516">Damascus Spring</a> did some media outlets, mostly governmental, dare to challenge the regime. This experience was short lived; open criticism in journalism was quickly banned, particularly in private media. Trying to negotiate new spaces for self expression in private media meant forced closure, as was the case of Orient TV in 2010. What the government permitted to flourish, instead, was edgy criticism hosted in the television series '<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><a class="western" href="http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/15948/the-whisper-strategy-(drama-and-power-relations-in">musalsalaat</a>' </em></span>and satirical magazines such as <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a class="western" href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en/syrian-creative/1877">al-Domari</a>.</span></p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> The introduction of the internet to Syria, which arrived late even by Arab standards, did not follow the same path as in other Arab countries. The regime persecuted net-activists with extreme violence, always preventing the formation of blogger communities. Facebook and youtube were banned after 2007, and even if Syrians were using them through proxy programs, they were never used as political tools before 2011.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> In Syria, the internet sphere was dominated by news websites like <em>SyriaNews</em>, <em>ChamPress</em>, <em>DPress, </em>and many others. It was mainly through these platforms that Syrians had the chance to begin to experiment with the interactive nature of the web. In this period, while Egyptians were opening blogs and facebook groups, young Syrians were opening news websites trying to negotiate new spaces of communication.[1]&nbsp;On the internet the margins of freedom were slightly larger than in traditional media, but nevertheless the regime could easily control local news websites by exerting some pressure on their managers and investors.</p> <h2> <strong>2011: the media earthquake</strong></h2> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> Everything changed in the first months of 2011. On 7 February the Syrian regime unblocked facebook and youtube. Pushed by the example of Egyptian and Tunisian activists, Syrians invaded social media in their thousands, creating secret and open groups to connect with each other and plan political initiatives.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> The ban of foreign journalists by the regime and <a class="western" href="#.VAg_ICjEh5U">the lack of coverage</a> of the demonstrations further increased the dependence of Syrians on new technologies.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> A new generation of improvised citizen journalists emerged, covering the events on the ground through digital cameras and smartphones, and using the web as the main platform to distribute content.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> However, relying on new media without proper training and without enough coordination with traditional media institutions had its defects. The content produced by citizen journalists on the ground <a class="western" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/patrick-cockburn-whose-hands-are-behind-those-dramatic-youtube-pictures-6289808.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">was often</span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"> accused</span></a> of lack of credibility and exaggeration. Moreover, the content circulating on the web could be deployed by other media to serve their own agendas. Global media tended to focus exclusively on the violence,&nbsp;<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a class="western" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/estella-carpi/syria-when-representational-violence-is-as-ruthless-as-political-violen">framing the conflict</a></span> as one between the Syrian army and armed Islamist groups and overlooking all other aspects. Syrians discovered, to their cost, that the content produced by individuals through new technologies was not enough to convey their own true narratives for the world to see. The lack of contextualisation, as well as the fragmentation of Syrian activists in a myriad of groups, pages, and profiles, often made it very difficult for external observers (and sometimes even for Syrians) to make sense of what was going on.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> To overcome these obstacles, Syrians gradually started to organise in a more systematic fashion. Since mid 2012, dozens of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a class="western" href="http://alhayat.com/Details/582061">radios</a></span>, <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a class="western" href="http://www.aljazeera.net/news/reportsandinterviews/2014/5/1/الصحف-السورية-الثورية-بين-المهنية-الإعلامية-والتمويل">newspapers</a></span>, and magazines <a class="western" href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/08/against-odds-syria-flourishing--201483094530782525.html"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">began</span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"> to flourish</span></a>. Syrians discovered the necessity of having organised institutions instead of networks of citizen journalists. The web with its alleged horizontalism had already shown its limitations and many felt the need to return to more traditional forms of news production. Those working for the emerging media consider themselves journalists, rather than activists. They are often critical of the activist model of content production, which is accused of lacking professionalism. After years of a war disrupting the social tissue, the new wave of Syrian journalists thought that this was the moment to focus on the future and to start rebuilding their society. Radios and newspapers tend today to produce a sort of 'social journalism'[2]&nbsp;aimed at reminding Syrians of what unifies them, rather than what divides them. They broadcast music and entertainment programmes, not only news. They focus on local communities, tell stories of common people, and offer advice on how to deal with the problems caused by the war.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> Never in Syrian history has the media landscape been so rich and diversified: citizen journalist networks, online and printed newspapers, news websites, magazines, facebook groups, radios, individual bloggers and net-activists, televisions, web aggregators: they all contribute to shaping an incredibly vital and pluralist space for the exchange of facts and opinions. Despite the fragility and the difficult conditions that characterise this cultural environment, it is here also that the idea of a future Syria is framed and negotiated.</p> <h2> <strong>What role for Syrian media in the future?</strong></h2> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> Mass media are not just tools for mobilisation, they are one of the main arenas of discussion used by Syrians to shape the narratives on what is going on and, especially, on what should become of Syria in the future.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> For this reason, the initiative '<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">Looking inside the uprising</a>', promoted conjointly by openDemocracy and <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en">SyriaUntold</a>, has devoted space to analyse the Syrian media landscape in all its changing aspects since 2011.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> One crucial point concerns the political economy behind the new emerging media. Today, these are mainly financed by foreign NGOs and governments, on whom they are reliant for their economic sustainability in the long term.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> The role of digital activism, the impact of social web architecture, and the changing dynamics of the Syrian virtual sphere - these are topics that require in-depth investigation for a full picture.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"> Syrian journalism is going through massive changes in terms of work organization, professional culture, and content production. As elements of a possible future media system, these changes not only need to be studied by academics, but also debated by Syrians. In this sense, '<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening-tags/looking-inside-uprising#0">Looking inside the uprising</a>' can serve as an important catalyst for future developments.</p> <p class="western" lang="en-US">Media can be crucial tools for conflict resolution. What is more important, in a conflict that has become a global one, and where Syrians seem to have lost all say, the emerging media sphere is the only space where they can express their views and frame events from their own perspective.</p><p class="western" lang="en-US">&nbsp;</p><p class="western" lang="en-US">---</p> <p lang="en-US"><a class="sdfootnotesym" href="#sdfootnote1anc">1</a> Enrico De Angelis, “Syrian News Websites: a Negotiated Identity”, <em>Oriente Moderno</em>, 1, 2011. </p> <p class="western" lang="en-US"><a class="sdfootnotesym" href="#sdfootnote2anc">2</a><sup></sup> Enrico De Angelis, “L’évolution du journalisme citoyen en Syrie : le cas des web-radios”, <em>Moyen Orient</em>, January 2014. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/donatella-della-ratta/importance-of-telling-syrian-stories-as-they-should-be-told">The importance of telling Syrian stories as they should be told</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/leila-nachawati/syria-and-emergence-of-grassroots-artistic-production">Syria and the emergence of grassroots artistic production</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/yazan-badran/uprising-and-syria%E2%80%99s-reconstituted-collective-memory">The uprising and Syria’s reconstituted collective memory</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammad-dibo/opening-debate-on-sectarianism-in-syria">Opening the debate on sectarianism in Syria</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> North Africa, West Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Syrian media social media Enrico De Angelis Through Syrian eyes Looking inside the uprising Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:03:22 +0000 Enrico De Angelis 85916 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Enrico De Angelis https://www.opendemocracy.net/content/enrico-de-angelis <div class="field field-au-term"> <div class="field-label">Author:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Enrico De Angelis </div> </div> </div> <p>Enrico&nbsp;De Angelis is researcher at CEDEJ, Cairo. He was adjunct professor at Faculty Roberto Ruffilli of University of Bologna. Enrico wrote a monograph on the relationship between media and conflict and several articles on the role of new media and the dynamics of the networked public sphere in the MENA region. He has lived in Cairo since September 2011.&nbsp;</p> Enrico De Angelis Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:58:20 +0000 Enrico De Angelis 85917 at https://www.opendemocracy.net