Enab Baladi – Eastern Ghouta
The media activist Osama Al-Masri says that following the newspaper “Nasmat Syria,” which is emerging in eastern Ghouta, calls for “optimism and high spirit.” He considers the newspaper’s first issue as an indication of the return to reading and of the increasing number of followers despite the siege. The publication of the first issue of the semi-monthly newspaper “Nasmat Syria” last April was driven by the efforts of the graduates of the Faculty of Media and Journalism at Damascus University and the students of “Massar” Academy. This initiative was widely welcomed by the interested people.
“Massar” Academy is dedicated to the education of Syrian youth and sponsored by the “Massar” Center. The Center was established in 2015 and aims, according to its administration, to prepare studies and research reports about local affairs in eastern Ghouta.”
The Media Shift in Four Years
Speaking about media in Ghouta in 2013, Al-Masri clarified that, besides him, only few people were writing in the alternative media press. He added that “the activists did not give writing and reading time and attention. Their activity focused mainly on photography, design, production and visual reports only.
”According to the activist, the number of people, who are interested in press writing, has “doubled” many times due to the attention and willingness to know the correct drafting of news in line with professional and global newspapers and channels.
Mahmoud Adam, the spokesman for the Civil Defense in the Damascus countryside and one of the followers of the newspaper, said that “the initiative of some academics in Ghouta has caught my attention, as most of the activists and media graduates present their products to newspapers outside Syria or outside Ghouta at least.
”Mahmoud noticed a “proficiency” in the first issue, according to his expression, which is represented by the “good” selection of news that “deliberately talk about the pains of the citizens during the siege and this encouraged me to wait for the second issue.
”According to the 30-year-old man, Ghouta is in a desperate need for such initiatives “which can contribute to the exhibition of the skills of the talented in Ghouta.” He pointed out that “we have a background and academics who can help in the development of media work, what may open the door that moves media talents’ to professionalism.”
Semi-monthly Targeting “Free Syrians
“Apart from Alkhabar, which was published on 28 April 2013, and was then suspended after the last issue on 27 April 2016, no printed daily newspaper has been issued in eastern Ghouta, according to its supervisor and the director of the Damascus Rural Correspondents’ Network, Abdul Salam Al-Dimashqi.”
”The editor of “Nasmat Syria,” Tariq Sulaiman, said that the newspaper emerged to be independent and from within Ghouta in the absence of independent newspapers inside the Syrian territory and since “most newspapers are now issued from abroad, although some are distributed inside.
” Sulaiman, graduate of the Faculty of Media and Journalism in Damascus in 2007, works as a teacher and trainer at Massar Academy. He indicates that the newspaper deals first with public affairs in Ghouta, pointing out that it contains several chapters distributed on 12 pages.
The newspaper publishes social, medical and humanistic investigations on Ghouta and dedicates sections for news, expatriates and opinion articles. It also includes a chapter entitled “The Competition,” one of the unchanging chapters, which contains a variety of questions with prizes of about 50 $.
It includes also “The Eagle Eye” chapter as a social control material that keeps a close eye on the work of institutions and civil events.
The editorial team of the newspaper consists of three media graduates from the University of Damascus, while the fourth member studies media in the Open Education Department. This is in addition to four correspondents studying in the Press and Media Department at the “Massar” Academy and some of the male and female activists. Sulaiman wishes it “to be better than it is today.
” The editor-in-chief of “Nasmat Syria” defined the target group as “Free Syrians wherever they are, inside Syria or abroad.” The newspaper publishes an overall number of 1000 copies distributed for free to civil and medical activities, institutions and local councils as well as military departments in Ghouta.
The editor stressed that the team is “working with double efforts,” hoping that the experience will be beneficial in Ghouta and Syria in general, and that it receives sponsorship and the support of institutions, away from sectarian, regional, and intellectual affiliations.