Al-Assad issues decree on establishing alternative information ministry

Syrian regime’s president Bashar al-Assad has an interview with a Russian media outlet without addressing the internal affairs in Syria - March 3, 2024 (Syrian Presidency)

Syrian regime’s president Bashar al-Assad has an interview with a Russian media outlet without addressing the internal affairs in Syria - March 3, 2024 (Syrian Presidency)


Today, Tuesday, April 23, the President of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, issued Decree No. “19”, which stipulates the establishment of a Ministry of Information to replace the one established under Legislative Decree No. “186” of 1961.

The decree, the text of which was published by the official Syrian News Agency (SANA), states in Article 4 that the ministry’s tasks include establishing foundations and controls to regulate the media sector and enhance fair competition within it, along with its supervision.

The ministry’s responsibilities also include cooperating and participating in both the public and private sectors to invest in the media sector and the production of drama and documentaries, in accordance with the effective laws and regulations, as well as communicating with Arab and foreign media to convey Syria’s policies to the global public opinion, and signing cooperation agreements and memorandums in media related fields, and training the ministry staff.

Moreover, the ministry is supposed to conduct research and studies, media opinion polls, work on developing the advertising industry and print services, distribute publications, and produce diverse and interactive electronic media, and enhance national digital content on the internet.

Its tasks also include regulating the operation of Arab and foreign media, accrediting correspondents and visits of Arab and foreign media delegations, monitoring the media content of periodical and non-periodical publications entering Syria, and distributing them after verifying their compliance with the laws and regulations.

Additionally, it is the ministry’s responsibility to license and accredit media outlets, regulate the work of publishing houses and media training centers and service companies, and grant them the necessary licenses.

Endorsement from the People’s Assembly

On March 4th last year, the Syrian People’s Assembly approved the law on establishing the Ministry of Information to replace the old one, after the government of the regime, in November 2022, approved a draft decree establishing the ministry that enhances control over content and dominates various aspects and sectors of the media work in Syria, carrying in its mission clauses and objectives more stringent restrictions on freedom of expression.

At that time, the new decree project did not entirely negate what was stipulated in the media law issued under Decree “108” of 2011, but it added other clauses to some of the basic principle articles in the second chapter of the media law, including media policy formulation, developing strategies and plans in accordance with it, and supervising their implementation according to the “general policy of the state”.

Concurrently with the new ministry project, which has been under discussion since 2017, the regime’s government also approved the legislative document that includes a new media law, justifying this step by “creating a contemporary law that aligns with the developments in the field of media and communication”, especially regarding social media, adopting media offices for non-Syrian media, and media research and opinion polling centers and training centers.

Enab Baladi previously prepared a report titled “Al-Assad resets media threads in Syria”, discussing the feasibility and possible purpose of this step on the reality of media work in Syria, amidst the multiplicity of platforms for transferring media content through unofficial gateways.



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