The Syrian uprising has highlighted the need for unbiased and objective media outlets that can report on the uprising and deliver relevant news to a large audience. Radio Rozana is one of these local projects aiming to “deliver the truth about what’s happening in Syria through the eyes of Syrians, to counteract the misguided and politicized reporting of the country.”
The work on Radio Rozana started almost two years with a substantial amount of research on the ground. The biggest obstacle was locating professional reporters inside Syria, since many had already left the country for security and economic reasons. The radio project started with two training workshops for its reporters and staff. The preparatory period lasted for five months and included trial newscasts and radio reports.
According to journalist Mais Katt, a founding member of Rozana, “we are not an alternative medium, for the regime had no effective media to begin with. Its media outlets were effectively branches of the secret service. To us, the biggest danger was subjugating the revolution’s media to the same pressures from other actors and thus being unable to represent the public opinion freely.” The radio’s programming revolves around Syrians’ daily lives, and their stories. The radio tries to highlight the successful projects in the hope that it may inspire other initiatives in the future.
All the reporters that work for Rozana are also activists who have been involved in the revolution, as well as its foreign-based staff. The team’s main mission is to find a balance between their duty as professional journalists and their moral bias as activists. Nevertheless, Rozana unambiguously “stands on the side of those who marched for their dignity, and it tries to deliver their voices, sufferings and dreams through its airwaves,” according to Mais Katt.
Radio Rozana has been highlighted by many foreign media outlets as a successful grassroots project, and there is great interest in watching it develop further.