Fighting with FM waves: A radio network from Damaskus to Berlin brings free voices to the people of Syria

Politics & Society
Dienstag, 6. Mai 2014 - 15:00 bis 16:00
stage C


In Syria one of the most barbarian wars of the last decades destroys a whole country. A network of Syrians and Germans, reaching from Damaskus over Istanbul and Paris to Berlin, brings free voices to the Syrian people. The programmes of seven independent radio stations are broadcasted via satellite, web, FM and mini transmitters, which establish a crowd based FM infrastructure in Syria. One radio maker and one mini transmitter expert will present their important and passionate mission.


It has become one of the most barbaric wars in the last decades. What began as peaceful protest against the regime of Bashar al-Assad turned into a civil war that has killed more than 150, 000 people and forced at least 2,5 million people to flee to countries like Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Those who stay behind in cities like Aleppo or Homs, describe the situation as hell on earth. In some areas there is no food, no electricity and no water. Many are starving to death.

In the past two years many radio stations were founded by Syrian activists and journalists in order to introduce oppositional voices to the realm of broadcasting media in Syria. Their goals are to counter state propaganda and to stress democracy, diversity and a plurality of perspectives, ranging from the conservative Sunni to the secular liberal view. Some of the stations are managed by journalistic beginners, some by professionals. What unifies them is an effort to keep information flowing throughout all parts of their devastated country.

A select group of Syrian radio stations are participating in a joint program called the Syrian Radio Network, which is supported by the German media development organization MICT. With funding from the German Foreign Office, MICT established an online platform for the exchange of programs and experiences and brought the radio makers together in several meetings. MICT continues to bring equipment to Syria to broadcast the program of the Syrian Radio network via satellite, web and FM radio. In spite of current difficulties, MICT’s project has managed to setup four FM transmitters in recent months.

IXDS, a design research firm specialized in applying methods of design thinking, joined the project as a technical partner assigned with developing mini FM-transmitters capable of covering areas of 3- 4 kilometers, that could be easily transported into Syria and remain undetectable by the military. IXDS created a crowd sourced FM infrastructure where people can hide transmitters in their homes or cars.

Our session will present two protagonists in this project: One radio maker will speak about his experiences and obstacles in the everyday work. One expert from IXDS will explain the mission of this crowd sourced FM network.

Our session will present two protagonists of this project: One young radio maker will speak about experiences and obstacles in his everyday work. And one expert of IXDS will explain the mission of this crowd based FM network.

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