The Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria has conducted eight workshops through the Civic Media Project, including six introductory workshops and two capstones, between the 17th of September 2012 and the 17th of May 2013 in the Turkish city of Gaziantep. In those workshops, we targeted eighty-five civilian journalists and other media activists who are working inside Syria in different media groups. The purpose of those workshops was: A) to develop their capacities in the field of journalism, teaching them the distinction between the media worker and the documenter; and B) to teach them about security in general, the measures taken to maintain the safety of media workers in times of conflict, and internet security. Lectures were also offered with the aim of raising their awareness on civil issues such as transitional justice, civil peace, conflict solving, gender differences, how to use media to fight sectarianism and violence, and the importance of women’s participation in society. The participants were given the tools to develop their media performance, enabling direct benefits from the training. One of the most important features of our training programs is their sustainability. The communication between the participants, the trainers, and our team does not stop with the termination of the program. It continues through social media networks, such as in the Facebook groups that we created for each workshop that we facilitated.
The Project was developed by adding two capstones: one for journalism, the other for optical technologies and montage. The participants in these capstones were chosen from the first six introductory workshops, taking in consideration geographic and demographic diversities; they were chosen from different sects and ethnic groups. The team also tried to bring more women to the civic media workshops, though it proved to be challenging since there are currently fewer females who work in the field of media within Syria. As for the trainers, we depended on their efficiency and expertise in the field of journalism, including their collective experience writing news, articles, press reports, stories, and conducting interviews, and in the fields of photography, montage, editing, preparing files and media campaigns. The trainers were able to stimulate the minds of the participants, directing them towards building a professional, democratic, far-from-sectarian, civil media.
Through those workshops, the Center successfully encouraged the participants to be more communicative, both among themselves and with other media activists. The atmosphere of the workshops helped them to expand their networks, to collaborate on projects, and to enter the field of journalism more steadily. Furthermore, the geographic and ethnic diversity of the participants paved the way for some very important discussions.
The Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria thanks everyone who contributed to the Project, from trainers to participants and funders, and, of course, the team that supervised management, surveillance, and logistical coordination. We hope to be able to offer more projects like this in the future, aimed at building Syrian capacities, and in particular to address journalists and media workers
Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria