A new generation of journalists in Gaziantep (18th, september 2015)


France’s action to support the Syrian people takes many forms. In Gaziantep, a Turkish city near the Syrian border, a media incubator was opened in August 2014 by CFI, the French media cooperation agency, with support from the European Union. The aim was to train a new generation of journalists, to contribute towards reconstruction of the country and reconciliation. Interview with the project manager, Nour Hemici.

How did this project come about?

CFI’s action to support the Syrian media developed gradually. We began in Lebanon, by supporting the first groups of Syrians who had left the country. We provided them with equipment, such as computers, cameras and recording devices. At the time, our action was still confidential. Then in 2013, in collaboration with the NGO International Media Support (IMS), we set up the radio station Rozana, which broadcast from Paris to a Syrian audience. All these actions contributed towards the development of the Syrian media incubator project, which was set up on the Turkish border in August 2014.

How does the incubator work?

We have an equipped set where television and radio journalists are trained. We also train print and web journalists. Our training is technical, but we also address ethical issues. The incubator helps to distribute the reports produced: we supported the establishment of a newspaper distribution network in northern Syria, for example. In total, 100,000 copies are distributed each month.

What kind of profile do the journalists who join the incubator have? How are they selected?

They are men and women, aged roughly between 22 and 38. They are people of all religions and ethnicities and we produce reports in Arabic, Assyrian, Kurdish, etc. They represent Syria in all its diversity. Most of them make contact with the incubator fairly spontaneously, through networks that we have already built up, during our training courses in particular. In total, since the incubator was set up, we have trained nearly 200 journalists.

Among all the reports that the incubator has helped to produce, which one was the most memorable?

I would say a report filmed by young journalists from Aleppo Media Centre. It shows regime aircraft bombing civilian and medical infrastructure in Aleppo: barrels of explosives are dropped on hospitals, ambulance car parks and a morgue. This report shows that the UN resolution banning bombing using barrels of explosives is not being applied (editor’s note: resolution 2139 on humanitarian access in Syria was passed on 22 February 2014 (in French). This extremely striking report was widely shown, here in Gaziantep, to the United Nations and to various international organizations.

Video report about the Syrian regime attacks against the hospitals and medical sector in Aleppo city, the video has been edited at the Syrian Media Incubator Studio by @Aleppo Media Center "AMC" AMC - مركز حلب الإعلامي

Posted by ‎Syrian Media Incubator I حاضنة الإعلام السوري‎ on jeudi 28 mai 2015

CFI’s action in the Arab world also includes:
  • Safir Lab, a programme to support, encourage, mentor and share experiences with young project leaders from Arab countries.
  • Ebticar Media, support for the development and strengthening of innovative online media.
  • 4M Machrek, improving the viability, pluralism and quality of ten online media outlets in the Mashreq.