Authors: Madanat, Philip
Pies, Judith
Title: Media Accountability Practices Online in Syria
Other Titles: An Indicator for Changing Perceptions of Journalism
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Media Accountability in Syria is more a question of re-defining the role of media in society than working on transparency practices or establishing self-regulation. This is due to strong state control and the mobilisation role mass media has been playing in Syria for decades. Before opening its media market for private publications in 2001 Syrian media was controlled either by the state or the ruling Baath party. Media accountability institutions like press councils or ombudspersons were simply not necessary in this concept of media and therefore do not exist. The only professional organisation, the Syrian Journalists Syndicate, did not act as a representative of independent journalists but as a representative of the regime. Additionally, as all journalists and media outlets had to work for more or less the same purpose, norms for guiding individual or organisational decisions – such as a code of ethics – were superfluous. Although these conditions still persist in major parts of the media field, news websites In addition, news websites have added new topics to the traditional news agenda by taking the audience into account, and thus have contributed to holding the media accountable for aspects the old media does not cover. Thus, at least in some cases, media has played the role of being a watchdog over political decisions, which role media has never previously adopted. have particularly contributed to a shift in society’s perception of the role of media by paving the way for media accountability practices in the field of responsiveness. Even though instruments for responsiveness might be part of an economic strategy of news websites to enter and survive the news media field, news websites have introduced an audience oriented journalism approach by providing collaborative story writing or possibilities for the audience to comment on news. This is a fundamental change in role perception as mobilising media was merely meant to serve the Baath elite and its ideas. Thus, the audience as a neglected actor of accountability seems to have entered the field. Yet, media accountability as a strategy to become independent from the regime is not thinkable at the moment. Other than one non-governmental organization (NGO), neither institutions nor individuals point systematically to press freedom violations or occurrences hindering independent media. Discussions have not taken place either on issues such as the establishment of an independent press council or ombudspersons. At the moment, the state still restricts the development of a diverse field of media accountability, but is slightly losing control.
Subject Headings: Accountability
Social Media
Subject Headings (RSWK): Glaubwürdigkeit
Soziale Software
Issue Date: 2011-06-01
Provenance: MediaAcT/Erich Brost Institute
Appears in Collections:MediaACT

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