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Free Content Strategies and (survival) tactics: The case of Syrian oppositional media in Turkey

This article aims to investigate the regulatory, financial and political environment negotiated by oppositional Syrian media operating in exile in Turkey, as well as to identify the main tactics used by them in negotiating between these constraints to ensure their survival in an increasingly difficult environment. As the war in Syria increased in intensity, many oppositional media chose to move their centres of operations into Turkey ‐ forcing them to adapt to a completely foreign regulatory environment, and an unstable political context. Furthermore, and in parallel, their institutional links with the media development sector were being deepened as well. The study draws on in-depth interviews with Syrian media professionals in Turkey, as well as with their interlocutors in international media development organizations. Using Michel de Certeau’s model of strategies and tactics, the study aims at arriving at a better understanding of the complex system of choices made by exilic media organizations to guarantee their survival and achieve their objectives. Within the strategic universes circumscribed by the powerful institutional actors of the Turkish state and the international media development sphere, one can locate the agency of Syrian media actors in their responsive tactical manoeuvrings. The article contends that the tactics employed are also reflective of the identity of these media actors located at the intersection of the alternative, exilic and oppositional.

Keywords: Syria; Turkey; alternative; exilic; media development; oppositional; strategies and tactics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CEMESO/imec-Smit, 0000000122908069Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Publication date: April 1, 2020

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  • The Journal of Alternative and Community Media (JOACM) publishes research which helps explain the shifting media environment, and the ways in which people use alternative forms of media and communication. Issues of concern to the journal include the nature and distribution of media power; access to and participation in media; media practices of communities and social movements; and the possibilities of emerging technologies and new media.

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