Fanack Home / Syria / Society, Media & Culture of Syria / Syria’s Media Landscape: An Overview / Internet


Consumers of the new media are still limited in number, with only 22.5 percent of the population using the Internet (5,069,480 users in 2012; percentage in the whole of the Middle East: 40.2, Internet World Statistics). The number of broadband Internet subscribers is tiny: 0.06 percent of the population (Worldbank). Those who do surf on the Internet, do this mostly either in the workplace, or in Internet cafés, which are strictly controlled and where it is compulsory to show an ID, making anonymity impossible. Access to the Internet is regularly cut off. Over 200 websites are blocked by the censors (see Reporters sans Frontières). Syria has banned websites of political opponents and arrested people for accessing them. Also, sites like YouTube, Arabic Wikipedia and Facebook are blocked from time to time.

Still, in interviews, President Bashar al-Assad insists he has the firm intention to expand the use of new media such as the Internet and the mobile phone (one of the two Syrian providers, MTN, is owned by the president’s cousin). In 2009, 44 percent of Syrians had a mobile phone (International Telecommunications Union,Worldbank). In 1999, there were a mere 4,000 mobile phones in the whole country. The number of Internet users has also shown a sharp increase over the years (from just 30,000 in the year 2000 to 5,069,418 in 2012 (Internet World Statistics)).

Internet in Syria usage
Internet Café in Damascus (Photo HH)

We would like to ask you something …

Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.

The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.

In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.

To run such a website is very expensive. With a small donation, you can make a huge impact. And it only takes a minute. Thank you.