‘Independent’ Kurdish Media in Syria

Conflicting Identities in the Transition

In: Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
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  • 1 Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • 2 American University in Cairo

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The Syrian uprising in 2011 was accompanied by the birth of a new generation of media outlets seeking to offer alternative narratives to those of the regime. After the Kurds gained a certain level of autonomy from the Syrian regime and opposition forces, areas historically inhabited by Kurds (Rojava) have also seen the emergence of local media: for example, the television station Ronahi, magazines and newspapers such as Welat, Buyer and Shar, radio stations such as Arta FM and Welat and the ARA News agency. Indeed, for the first time in their history, Syrian Kurds have the opportunity to have an independent voice in the media landscape. In this paper we map the field of emerging Kurdish media in Syria and analyze some of the main features of these outlets, while situating them in the larger context of emerging Syrian media. Moreover, the paper explores their relationship in the current political context of the Syrian uprising and, especially, of Rojava. In doing so, we analyze the political identity that these media tend to project and address how they position themselves toward the issue of the Kurdish identity in general and in Syria in particular.