A step towards Syria, inside, taken by the committee of the “Ethical Charter for Syrian Media, in an attempt to introduce the ethics of journalism to journalists and media activists and to create a space for discussion about the crisis of journalistic professionalism and the top problems suffered by the Syrian media in general.
On August 15 and 16, the Committee conducted two seminars in Northern Syria. The first took place in the city of Idlib, while the second was launched in the city of Qalaat al-Madiq, bringing together about 50 Syrian journalists in a discussion of the Charter’s provision, seeking to reach a journalistic work, where “ethics” stand as a slogan.
Akram al-Ahmad, the head of the committees’ board, said in an interview with Enab Baladi that the committee is planning for several events inside Syria, including the “Ethical Journalism” forum, which took place in the two cities of Idlib and Qalaat al-Madiq.
Al-Ahmad added that the Forum has three principal axes: the “Ethics of the Journalistic Work,” the “Current Reality of Syrian Media” and the “Futuristic Horizons of the Ethical Charter’s Committee.”
Developing Journalistic Work
The Committee has organized a number of meetings and training workshops for the Syrian journalistic abroad; however, the seminars that took place in Northern Syria were the first of this type inside the state, targeting influential journalists and activists, who play a major role in the making of the international point of view of the Syrian happenings.
The Syrian journalist Omar al-Haj Ahmad, who attended the seminar conducted in the city of Idlib, points out that journalism is like any other profession; it needs professional regulations and charters that rule its work.
In his interview with Enab Baladi, al-Haj Ahmad said that the seminar which he attended with other 29 journalists, introduced the attendees to the ethics of journalism, adding that “as Syrian journalists and citizen journalists, we have many flaws,” indicating the necessity for a charter to overcome these flaws.
Al-Haj Ahamd hopes that the Syrian journalism would progress based on the ethics provided by the Charter, stressing the importance of serious work on the part of Syrian journalists to control the ethics of journalism.
The two seminars conducted in Idlib and Qalaat al-Madiq witnessed major discussions between journalists and the head of the “Charter’s” Board, who facilitated the sessions, addressing the top problems and obstacles facing Syrian media and the role of ethical journalism in facing it.
Mohammad Ghoyesh, the reporter of “Smart” Agency in Hama, pointed out that the discussions where pretty useful as they corrected a few of the mistakes that used to face Syrian journalists inside.
He added telling Enab Baladi that “We learned things that were absent to our minds; we used to work as volunteers without the needed knowledge of the basics of professional journalism. Today, we know the right and the wrong of this profession.”
What is the “Ethical Charter”
After eight meetings and discussions that lasted for about two years on the principles of international conventions and their relationship with the Syrian situation, 20 Syrian media outlets launched the “Ethical Charter of Syrian Media” on September 10, 2015, which organizes the work of media establishments, based on ethical principles, aiming to find an active role for media, to be a serious contributor in the construction of the new Syrian society, as stated by the Charter.
The Charter contains eight main articles, including the definition of media and the journalist, explaining the sources and principles of the Charter and the ethical obligations of the journalist, as well as the rules governing the ethics of the profession.
The Charter is an ethical reference for the media outlets that signed it, the directors and editors-in-chief of which periodically meet to discuss the challenges facing the Syrian media and the impact of the development afflicting the Syrian landscape on journalism.
Since its launch, the Charter has attracted new Syrian media outlets, which have pledged to abide by its terms, bringing the number of the signees to 46 Syrian media outlets today.