On 17 May EIP hosted a debate about conflict narratives, journalism and the challenges of war/peace reporting. A media monitoring study on how the global media reported the war in Syria is available for download. 

The war in Syria is a war of narratives. Over the past 5 years we saw a plethora of conflict narratives in the international media: a civil conflict impossible to solve, a humanitarian disaster with over 250,000 casualties, the root cause of Europe’s refugee crisis, an international/regional proxy war, an intractable diplomatic game in Geneva - to name just a few. Conflict parties use media outlets as a tool to frame the conflict to their benefit. At the same time, Syria remains one of the world’s most dangerous environments for journalists making it hard to verify news reports. How does this affect our understanding of the conflict in Syria? Is it possible to report accurately from Syria? And what are the implications for the ongoing diplomatic peace talks?

On 17 May EIP hosted the Brussels launch of Syria in Global Media – a comprehensive study that uncovers the main trends on how the global media has reported the war in Syria The study was developed by an international team of analysts led by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) and the Common Space Initiative (CSI). 


  • Lea Pakkanen is a Peace and Reconciliation Advisor at FELM & coordinator of the ‘Syria in the Global Media’ study.
  • Mahmoud Ramadan is a Syrian civil society activist and the co-founder of the Syria initiative / CSI
  • Benjamin Hiller  is a German-American freelance photographer and writer. In 2008 he started his freelance career, focusing directly on the conflict zones in the Near-/Middle East as well as the Kurdish conflict in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. He is the curator of the War Zone Freelance Exhibition.
  • Osie Greenway has covered the Middle East for the past several years most recently the war on Islamic State militants in Iraq. He is also the founder of the War Zone Freelance Exhibition
  • The event will be moderated by Antonia Potter Prentice who worked in various conflict zones and is a Senior Advisor at the European Institute of Peace (EIP)

Syria in the Global Media – key facts:

  • A unique study looking at 44 217 online media articles over the course of almost one year.
  • Stories on the conflict dynamics and acts of terrorism comprised 48% of the coverage on Syria; only 11% mentioned ongoing peace talks, and a mere 3% reported on humanitarian issues.
  • Pro-opposition posts tend to dominate social media; and a new trend in social media analysis showed a dramatic rise in bots and automated reposts and retweets.