News agencies

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) was created in 1965 with the purpose of writing and distributing news, reports, photographs and commentary. Its board of directors is chaired by the Minister of Information or his deputy and the other board members are the director of SANA, the under-secretary of the Ministry of Information, the director-general of Al-Wahda (Organisation for Printing, Publishing and Distribution), the director of the Armed Forces’ Public Affairs Directorate for Moral Guidance and an “expert in the media.” SANA maintains offices in over a dozen countries and employs hundreds of staffers. It supplies news copy to the newspapers, as well as to Syrian Arab Radio and Television.

Al-Wikala al-hurra li’l-anba’ (Free News Agency) was founded by journalist Jamil Salou and is inspired to the principle of freedom of opinion and expression. SMART News Agency, which is based in Turkey, is an opposition-oriented agency launched in August 2013. It offers various news media (text, photographs, videos) in Arabic. This project was implemented by the French operator in media cooperation (CFI) and funded by the EU.

Wikalat A‘maq al-ikhbariyya (Amaq News Agency) is not officially linked to Islamic State, even though it functions like an official part of its media apparatus. Its name started to appear for the first time in 2014. It spreads IS propaganda, but being somehow removed from the group, it has more of an appearance of legitimacy. Amaq has launched an official mobile app and a Telegram account.

In the Kurdish context, Ajansa Rojnamevaniya Azad (Independent Press Agency - ARA News), established in 2013, is probably the most popular. It is online in both Arabic and English and focuses on the events of the region. Hawar News Agency (ANHA) is another online Kurdish news service based in al-Hasaka, in the far northeastern corner of Syria and lined up with the PYD. Its website is available in Arabic, English, Kurdish, Russian, Spanish, Turkish.