Press Release – November 4, 2016
A number of Syrian investigative journalists, in cooperation with a group of media experts, university professors and academics, have launched the Syrian Reporting for Accountability Journalism (SIRAJ), Syria’s first media group for investigative journalism.
The launch of SIRAJ comes at a time of growing need for deep investigative research on #Syria in order to promote transparency, fight against corruption and help Syrians to form a general opinion based on accurate and unbiased information on the various issues that affect Syrians, both inside and outside of the country.
SIRAJ is considered to be the first #Syrian media group for investigative journalism specialised in training Syrian journalists on investigative journalism, as well as producing investigative reports for print, TV and radio under the supervision of Syrian and international investigative journalists working with local, regional and international media outlets.
SIRAJ relies on a group of 35 investigative journalists spread across Syria, neighbouring countries and Europe.
Mohammed Bassiki, a Syrian journalist and head of SIRAJ, said: “It is time to have a Syrian unit for investigative reporting because of the urgent need for a different type of media that helps shed light on the exploitation of Syrians and reveal corruption, and that keeps pace with changes on the scene in conjunction with the a transition to democracy, and the necessity to draft a law for the right to access to information.”
He pointed out that SIRAJ has become an umbrella under which some of the most prominent Syrian investigative journalists have gathered – some of whom have won international awards for their work on issues related to economy, society and politics.
Bassiki said that the media boom regarding Syria has made it necessary to establish a network for Syrian investigative journalism. And being the first of its kind gives it momentum and presence within the media arena, with a mission of providing high-quality investigative reports that will give a boost to the Syrian press that is so often overlooked by international outlets.
Bassiki called on Syrian journalists, wherever they may be, to join SIRAJ, which will provide training and qualification opportunities on the mechanisms of completing investigative reports and investigation methodologies with the help of fellow Arab and international institutions.
Rana Sabbag, executive director of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), welcomed the establishment of SIRAJ, as it simulates most important strategic objectives of ARIJ, and is designed “to encourage ARIJ members in their countries of residence on rooting the culture of investigative reporting in line with the role of the fourth power in the public service and holding officials accountable on their words and deeds.”
She said that “the majority of young men and women in SIRAJ are those who produced written and video investigative reports more than once during the past years, and showed a passion to develop their investigation and editing skills despite the social, economic, legal and political obstacles that stand against this media genre that is based on digging in cases that interest the public opinion, in order to document the problems and face the ones causing them with facts in order to correct the imbalance.”
She added that #ARIJ is ready to “provide possible support to help these local investigative emerging institutions.”
During the coming period, through its journalists inside Syria and around the world, SIRAJ seeks to produce investigative reports in collaboration with global and regional media institutions and in partnership with a fellow Arab networks. It will also allocate training workshops for journalists. Dates and locations are to be determined later and will be announced on SIRAJ’s website where it also advertising its acceptance of ideas and hypothesis for future investigative reports.