Global Media Representation of the Syrian City of Raqqa

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School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University is hosting a panel debate to discuss the symbolism and media representation of the Syrian city of Raqqa, in various news and media outlets, films, books and series. Raqqa city features in many different shapes and forms, for example in books such as the Road from Raqqa and here in Sweden a TV-series called “Kalifat” is partly situated in Raqqa city as the backdrop hotbed of jihadism and ISIS. Viewers do not actually get to know the city. In other words, everybody knows Raqqa nowadays, but nobody actually knows the city and its people. In order to reflect deeper on its media representation and the role of Raqqa, the roundtable discusses the following questions:

  • Why has Raqqa, a northern Syrian town, suddenly become world famous?
  • How is the city of Raqqa represented in the various global media and ISIS media outlets ?
  • Why was the city’s role in Islamic State media portrayed as the de-facto capital of the proclaimed Islamic State ?
  • What is Raqqa’s history, character, who are the Raqqans and what role did the city play in the Syrian uprisings?
  • What is the current situation of Raqqa in this post-ISIS period ?

The aim of this panel to give a more in-depth and nuanced insight into this Syrian city that has become well-known globally. The roundtable is conducted by a panel of Syrian writers and journalists from Raqqa as well as scholarly media experts from Sweden.

Panel members:

  • Yassin al-Haj Saleh, Syrian Writer from Raqqa, author of 8 books on Syria
  • Mazen Hassoun, Syrian Journalist from Raqqa, founder of “Al-Raqqa post”
  • Hussam Eesa, Journalist from Raqqa, founding-member of “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently”.
  • Michael Krona, author of “The Media World of ISIS”, K3, Malmö University, Sweden
  • Josepha Wessels, author of “Documenting Syria: Film-making, Video Activism and Revolution” K3, Malmö University, Sweden (moderator)