World Radio Day Arta FM
What is ARTA?
ARTA for Media and Development is a non-proft, non-governmental organisation registered in Germany. It was founded in February 2013 by a group of Syrian-Kurdish activists and media professionals based in and outside Syria. ARTA's frst project was ARTA FM, an independent, multilingual community radio station broadcasting in the north-eastern parts of Syria. It is also available online (arta.fm) and on the NileSat satellite network. It started broadcasting in July 2013 from Amudah, where ARTA is now headquartered.
ARTA FM broadcasts daily 13 hours of live programmes and news in four languages: Kurdish, Arabic, Syriac and Armenian – the languages of the local communities inhabiting the northern parts of Syria, along the Turkish borders. It is listened to by wide sections of the population in the regions of Amudah, al-Qamishli, al-Malikiyyah (Dêrik), Ras al-'Ayn (Serê Kaniyê) and 'Ayn al-'Arab (Kobanî). Other ARTA projects include Jin FM, a sister radio station run by women for women, which started broadcasting in October 2015. Vision & Strategy ARTA strives for a peaceful, democratic society where the rule of law prevails and everyone is free and equal, In the current circumstances in the Jazeera region in Syria.
• defending the freedom of speech and freedom of information;
• defending individual and collective human rights and democratic values;
• promoting a culture of plurality and tolerance among the various ethnic and religious communities of the region, in the face of rising fundamentalism and extremism;
• strengthening the role of women in society and defending women's rights;
• strengthening the role of the youth in society.
Towards these goals, ARTA works to:
• establish independent media projects and train and support independent journalists and other media workers;
• expose and challenge human rights abuses by all parties to the Syrian confict;
• help diferent communities in the region get to know each other and enhance mutual trust between them;
• strengthen the role of women journalists and give women an equal voice in the media;
• provide platforms for the youth and shed light on their problems. What is unique about ARTA FM?
ARTA FM is the frst and only Syrian radio station broadcasting in four languages: Kurdish, Arabic, Syriac and Armenian. It is one of a few media outlets in Syria that actively work to improve inter-communal relations.
Popularity: ARTA FM is the most listened-to radio station in north Syria. It has a listener share of 69,4% in the Jazeera region, according to an independent survey conducted by the Washington-based Navanti Group in September 2015 in Aleppo, Idlib and al-Hasakah governorates.
Independence: ARTA FM is among a few truly independent media outlets in Syria. As a non-partisan community radio station with no political or religious agendas, it has established a reputation among the local population as an independent voice of truth on matters that concern them.
Reliability: Because of the above, ARTA FM has become a reliable source of news and information, not only for its listeners, but also for other media outlets inside and outside Syria. ARTA FM is frequently quoted by other media as a source.
Socio-economic impact ARTA FM's programmes, particularly their awareness-raising and advocacy aspects, have had a considerable positive impact on listeners, raising their awareness of important social and political issues afecting their lives, such as women's rights, civil society activism, social cohesion, peace and democracy.
Many of ARTA's programmes and projects also focus on ordinary or marginalised people whose voices and stories are rarely heard, highlighting their everyday life problems and the difculties they face, while at the same time sending positive messages of hope and using these voices as examples of how people can overcome those difculties and be part of communities, despite the war and destruction.
Economically, ARTA FM has created tens of local job opportunities, and will create hundreds more in the years to come. And this economic impact is not confned to the staf working at the radio station itself. The food and services that they purchase from local shops and businesses also create a little ripple efect in the local economy. While this economic factor may be small in scale, it is nonetheless a signifcant contribution to helping Syrians remain in or return to Syria.
From the beginning, ARTA has insisted on keeping all its ofces and studios and trainings inside Syria, rather than broadcasting from neighbouring countries, like many other Syrian radios are doing. This is particularly important with women and the youth. ARTA has contributed to a signifcant quantitative and qualitative increase in women and young voices in radio and media more generally in the region – not only in entertainment and 'women-only' programmes, but also in serious social and political terrains.
The ARTA team As of June 2016, the ARTA team consists of 65 full-time staf members, 5 part-time, one consultant and 10 volunteers. With the exception of a few professional journalists and broadcasters, the majority of ARTA FM's presenters and producers were local women and men hired and trained by professionals at the ARTA Academy and Jin Academy for Female Broadcasters in Amudah (which is also part of ARTA for Media and Development).
Trainings included the basics of journalism, the basics of photography and video production, fnding and gathering information, writing and editing news and reports for radio, doing interviews, presenting news, social media, in addition to management skills related to radio and media projects. All of ARTA FM's presenters and producers are now confdent in using these skills and are indeed putting them into practice when producing and presenting ARTA's radio programs and news.