Radio Free Syria to Break Assad's Media Monopoly
By Nick Grace
June 17, 2004
Radio Free Syria will hit the airwaves this weekend, Clandestine Radio Watch (CRW) has learned, marking the first phase of a sophisticated media campaign to chip away at the Ba'ath Party regime in Damascus and to promote democracy and tolerance.
The station's inaugural broadcast will occur on June 20, 2004, and air thereafter on Sundays at 1800 UTC on 13650 kHz.
Sources within the Reform Party of Syria, which built the station, tell CRW that the schedule is planned to expand after a period of testing. Although the sources would not confirm the location of the transmitter reports in the Israeli press point to a facility in Cyprus allegedly funded by Washington. "We are not funded by anyone," one source close to the station's operations said. "Radio Free Syria is being built independently with the support of Syrian businessmen and women who want openess and peace."
Radio Free Syria will be the first station run by Syrians, themselves, that promotes democracy, freedom of conscience and respect for minority and human rights. Its planners expect this message to serve as a burst of fresh air for their target audience, which is subjected to state-run propaganda that serves to bolster the ruling Ba'ath Party as well as Islamist programming preaching intolerance broadcast by such outlets as The Arabic Radio and Hezbollah's TV and radio stations. Live roundtable discussions are planned as well as comedy and entertainment that all listeners can enjoy - Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds and Assyrians.
"This is just the first phase," a planner said. "The regime's feet is about to be put into the fire."
Listeners are welcome to contact the station by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. The station also has a Web site that contains programming that can be downloaded, www.radiofreesyria.org.