[QODLink]
Archive
Independent daily launched in Syria
Syria's first private political daily newspaper has been launched five years after the Baathist government ended a long mon
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2006 17:03 GMT
Rabo: Syria has entered a new era
Syria's first private political daily newspaper has been launched five years after the Baathist government ended a long monopoly of the media.

Al-Watan, a 16-page broadsheet, was launched at a reception party on Sunday night attended by journalists, diplomats and officials.

   

President Bashar al-Assad allowed private media in 2001, a year after he succeeded his late father Hafez al-Assad.

 

Al-Watan, has been the only political paper so far to be granted a licence, along with three established government dailies.

   

"This has been a dream. Syria has entered a new era and we have been in need of private media to reflect the people's will," publisher Wadah Abed Rabo said.

   

Rabo, who runs a leading publishing house, said al-Watan (Arabic for homeland) is independent and will adopt a "moderate" political line.

 

Page one of the first issue had a picture of Israeli students demanding peace talks with Syria.

   

Doubts

 

Others in the industry expressed doubt that private Syrian media could be completely independent, considering close links between the business class and the government, controlled by the Baath Party since 1963.

   

"There is a real problem in decision-making in Syrian media. Just about everything has to be sanctioned by a higher political authority," said journalist Johnny Abbo.

   

One diplomat said: "Al-Watan represents a positive step. The identity of the newspaper's owners is murky but, this is the case of many newspapers in the region."

   

Around 80 private newspapers and magazines that mostly cover business, fashion and entertainment have hit the stands in the Arab world last few years.

   

Among the most successful was al-Domary, a satirical newspaper launched by renowned cartoonist Ali Farzat, which the Syrian authorities swiftly closed.
Source:
Aljazeera + Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.