Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- Given the significance of the role played by the media in highlighting the reality of popular movements taking place in Syria since mid-March, a new television channel entitled “Syria al-Shaab” began broadcasting last Friday, via the Nilesat satellite network [Nilesat 11393v SR 27500 3/4], with plans to broadcast on other frequencies at a later stage.
The channel was announced on the sidelines of a Muslim Ulama conference in support of the Syrian people, which concluded its work in Istanbul in the middle of last week. Syria al-Shaab was defined as a “satellite channel specializing in Syrian affairs, in support of the Syrian people and their uprising against injustice and tyranny.”
On its website (http://syriaalshaab.tv), the channel defines its mission and aims as “[promoting] national belonging and loyalty from beginning to end; far removed from sectarian and racist calls, corruption, tyranny, as well as superficial presentations and discussions. [Syria al-Shaab] targets Syrians in all their demographics. In its address to the people, the channel aspires for freedom, democracy, and human dignity. It aspires for a better tomorrow and future; and its weapons are the constructive sincere word, genuine verified news, and mature academic opinion.”
The channel presents itself as “the voice of the free, freedom fighters, and those who aspire for a Syria of hopes and dreams, a Syria that warmly embraces all its loyal sons, who work in its interests, progress, and prosperity.” The channel adds that it is “the voice of those who have been tortured on Syrian soil, which has been drenched in blood shed for the sake of God, the homeland, and the people.”
According to its founding statement, Syria al-Shaab intends to “create a channel for communication within and outside Syria, as a reflective mirror. It will represent what is taking place inside Syrian territory, and of what is being plotted against the Syrians in the decision-making circles and corridors.”
With regards to those behind the channel’s administration, and how it is financed, Syria al-Shaab’s website restricted itself to saying “They are a group of citizens who care, working through their own modest efforts away from any dictations and suspicions, with the support of several wealthy Syrians and Arabs, who are upset by what is taking place in the blessed land of Syria in terms of tyranny, atrocious violations of human rights, imprisonment, killing, and sabotage at the hand of a regime that is devoid of all human, moral, religious, and patriotic values, and that has exposed the Syrian country and the people, present and future, to all kinds of dangers.”
After Syria al-Shaab began broadcasting, the channel’s page on Facebook reported that it had been exposed to “strong jamming interference on our frequency on Nilesat, which has impacted upon the reception of the channel”.
During the current pilot transmission stage, the channel’s daily broadcast is limited to four programs, but soon many programs related to Syrian affairs will be added. The programs include a daily Syrian affairs news bulletin entitled “Revolution News”, as well as a political analysis program, discussing the Syrian reality on the ground, entitled “Talk of the Revolution”. Within the context of its live-on-air programs, the channel has hosted a number of personalities, including interviews with Dr Mohammed Bin-Suleiman al-Abdah, former chief editor of Al-Bayan magazine; and Sheikh Muadh Huy; as well as talks with the political activist Abu-Anas, and Major Walid Subhi al-Saqqa, former commander of the Syrian army’s armored brigade.
The channel also broadcasts programs that interact with the citizens, aiming to convey the pulse of the street, such as “The Voice of the People”. Syria al-Shaab will also transmit a program in Kurdish, entitled “The Voice of Freedom”.