By Alice Fordham
BEIRUT — In the wake of a nine-month uprising, Syrian authorities are exerting ever-tighter control over the media, routinely censoring and detaining reporters, bloggers and photojournalists. But in spite of the risks, a flurry of new outlets has emerged to tell stories banned by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The magazines and journals — mostly produced outside the country and published online — offer an alternative to established newspapers and news channels in Syria, where journalists are careful to produce work without crossing “red lines” such as criticizing the president. And, analysts say, they represent a huge shift in the country.
“Syrian society, which had long been apathetic and sterile, has awoken through this crisis,” said Peter Harling, a project director in Damascus for the International Crisis Group. “It is proving amazingly creative, producing its own literature, displaying a powerful sense of humor and finding 1,001 ways to report events despite the media clampdown.”