IAPC Presidency Projects

The National Press Club of Syria

The National Press Club of Syria is an initiative of the International Association of Press Clubs (IAPC), initiated by the Press Club Brussels Europe holding its rotating Presidency from 2018-2020.

The National Press Club of Syria will be a unique platform that connects Syrian journalists, media professionals and supporters scattered throughout Europe and beyond who wish to contribute to the development of a New Narrative for Syria.

The New Narrative for Syria is about the vision for the future of Syria.

Nobody can foresee what the future will hold – if and when those who fled Syria will return to their homes, towns and regions in Syria. To contribute to a nation that has gone through fire, a nation that will have learned from its darkest time in history and is resolutely looking forward.

However, strong and independent media and their journalists are a fundamental prerequisite to ensure that civil society and the population at large will benefit of the flow of resources and investments that will be entering the country. Their role is crucial: to ensure that all progress and achievements are shared and widely communicated, helping to restore hope and confidence in the population.

The independent media and journalists are the foundation for the development of a thriving and resilient civil society. One that facilitates and stimulates open exchange, respect and participation in debates and decision making – in short: stimulating inclusiveness and good governance.


CONTEXT
A political solution still needs to be found and agreed upon for Syria. It will be confronted with a very complex context – its people needing to find ways to forgive and forget, to heal and restore, and to focus on creating a new narrative for their lives and their country. And to share that narrative with the world, a world that seems open to get involved.Syria’s diverse press and media sector has disintegrated with only those elements close to the Assad regime left in the country.

According to the International Federation of Journalists, more than 1.000 journalists have left and sought refuge in neighbouring countries (mainly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon), in Europe (mainly in Germany, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom) and across the Atlantic.

As refugees, and sometimes illegal migrants, their situation is extremely difficult (i.e. dispersed families, unclear legal status, housing issues). Moreover, most of them are no longer working as journalists and have – at best – taken on odd jobs to feed themselves and their families.

OBJECTIVES

The National Press Club of Syria will give Syria’s journalists and all those wishing to contribute to a constructive and inclusive new narrative for Syria a home and a voice.

A Home for Syria’s Journalists

The National Press Club of Syria website will be the central home for Press Club members, physically displaced all over the world. The dedicated website, with public information about relevant initiatives and activities, will also host a secure, members-only, online environment where information and ideas can be shared, discussed and formulated.

Furthermore, the National Press Club of Syria will find a home for its activities in the network of Press Clubs in Europe and Middle East (i.e. in Brussels, Beirut, Berlin, Paris, London, Geneva, Vienna, Frankfurt, etc.) and world-wide (i.e. Washington, New Delhi, Canberra, etc.), and this until it can be physically located in Syria. It will be initiated as a Press Club in residence, at the Press Club Brussels Europe.

A New Voice for the People of Syria

The other objective of this initiative is to to craft an alternative narrative to the dark and depressing situation in Syria today and project a voice of hope for the people of Syria.

The National Press Club of Syria will invite all Syrian journalists, media and supporters to create such a new narrative of hope and be the launching pad to amplify their voice.

“Without hope, people perish” is a saying found in many cultures, religions and faiths.

A good narrative has the power to project the future, make things to be ‘seen’ before they become real, focus energy and determination, forget what is behind and strive for what is ahead. In short, a narrative can be a source of inspiration and hope.

Once created, it will be shared with fellow Syrians, press club partners and through the network of press clubs around the world and contribute to a new and inclusive vision for the future of Syria.

Full concept note

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