Accurate and informed reporting on Syria is crucial to understanding and representing the rapidly shifting situation in the country, especially as the number of parties involved in the conflict grows along with the biases of many national and international media outlets. In August 2016, SLDP conducted four days of training with Syrian media professionals, introducing them to important concepts in Public International Law (PIL), International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Human Rights Law (IHRL), and International Criminal Law (ICL) as related to the Syrian conflict. The training, facilitated in collaboration with Mithaq and Free Press Unlimited, highlighted how increased knowledge of these topics can lead to stronger reporting on the conflict.
In two-day workshops, journalists were not only exposed to international law terminology and concepts necessary to reporting on developments in Syria, but also put their knowledge to use in practical exercises mimicking journalistic assignments. SLDP designed interactive sessions with targeted activities relevant to the Syrian context, such as reporting on UN Security Council resolutions, interviewing diplomats about issues related to IHL, and hosting live segments with legal experts. At the end of the training, nearly all participants reported improved knowledge of relevant international law issues and were able to identify how coverage of past events could be improved. Attendees left more informed and better equipped to approach issues related to international law to bolster the quality of their reporting.