Prior to the outbreak of protests in Daraa in 2011, media in Syria was state-controlled and heavily regulated. However, in the face of escalating conflict with the Assad regime, independent media outlets emerged that gave voice to Syrian journalists and civil society activists sharing information domestically and to an international audience. Although these new outlets provided hope as state authority weakened, in the seven years since the outbreak of war, journalists attempting to share their stories from within Syria face daunting challenges including uncertain security, difficulty in verifying sources and the absence of a reaction from international audiences.

How has the emergence of independent media in Syria empowered diverse perspectives on political developments from within? How are Syrian journalists overcoming governmental crackdown, humanitarian devastation and a seemingly apathetic international community? How can international audiences support the work of Syrian media to mobilize humanitarian support and action in Syria?

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a panel discussion to examine these issues. Rania Abouzeid, author of No Turning Back: Stories of Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria will be joined by MEI Scholar and Syrian Activist Ibrahim al-Assil and MEI's director for public relations, Antoun Issa, to dicuss the important role of Syria's independent media. The Atlantic's Uri Friedman will moderate the discussion.