Q. Are there steps for developing Syrian Media?
A. The Syrian mass media was restricted to the Ba’ath party and the state, but recently the parties of the Front started contributing to it and the Syrian media is under study and undergoing development.
Q. Can the Syrian citizen issue a newspaper?
A. Licenses have been issued to one or more independent newspapers.
Q. This means that issuing a paper has become permissible?
A. It is permissible within certain measures. What is the aim of the paper? This is the basis. Does it serve the national and pan-Arab line? There is an old printing law that allows the publication of newspapers, and it is under review, and there will be principles that aim to make the mass media contribute to the development process. The paper should not be with no clear objective, nor should its objective be a hindrance to the development process
Q. Allow me to comment that we have not felt official and effective media coverage to the prosperity you are talking about, and in our opinion, a free press may better cope with the process in an appropriate way.
A. Free press may help the development process and may also work in an opposite direction. The development process is a controlled development and not development without restrictions. It might be a slow process, but what is more important than speed is to guarantee the success of these steps, and that is the most important axis of development, to make accurately studied steps with almost guaranteed results.
If the measures were hasty and not well-studied, this will be dangerous, because the stability of development and its effectiveness is more important than its speediness. The press may well support development. Its supposed lack of effectiveness does not mean that the process of development is not moving ahead. The task of the mass media is to explain the development process and support it. This support might be weak and this will have an influence on development but does not prevent it. The axes of development are multiple but they don’t necessarily move at the same speed. What is important is that it does not stop in the same place. At any rate, Syrian mass media is developing within the available capabilities.
Q. Sometimes, the issue is beyond authority. There is foreign information that reaches Syria including newspapers and satellite Channels. This means that openness to negative press can not be prevented. Doubtless, local press has to cope with developments, and as there is openness to the outside world, isn’t there a risk that things may get out of the control of the Ministry of Information?
A. The existence of open information does not mean that issues would be out of the control of the Ministry of Information, and this indicates clearly that the state wants people to posses means of knowledge including information. Otherwise, the State would have prevented dishes and this is not difficult for the State. This indicates that the state’s wish is to enable the Syrian citizen to receive information. There is no closed mind in order to talk about openness. The one who is not open can not be closed with local press and open with foreign press. There is a desire by the state, and there is no closed mind.
Regarding speed, this is a relative word. Does it mean days, months or years? Every one explains speed in his own way. Let’s move to the risk mentioned in your question. This is also interpreted differently by different people. For example, if you take part in an adventure, another man may consider it ordinary work and not an adventure. But let’s assume that it is an adventure. Man takes risks on one condition, namely when he is forced to reach a certain aim, and if he does not reach that aim there will be danger. We are not in such a condition and therefore the risk is not required.
The second point is that taking risks at the level of the country is dangerous. When the issue is related to development of the country, there can’t be risks. Therefore, the idea of risk in all fields does not exist in our country. Until this moment, we do not feel danger. It is true that we are behind in certain fields and we develop because we know this. Had we not been behind, we would not have started a development process so soon. We are behind but we are developing and this development is being undertaken within the available capabilities and possible speed and time.