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12 Jul, 2012 08:01

Casualty of media war: Gulf States ditch Syrian TV dramas

Before the gruesome pictures of Syrian political violence flooded the screens of all major networks across the globe, the image of Syria was shaped through its dominant television drama industry, portraying the country as a peaceful loving state.

Now Syria's once- flourishing soap opera industry is losing its glory after Arab television networks and satellite channels declined to buy Syrian soaps in retaliation for President Assad’s position in the current political crisis.The entire industry has been boycotted by Arab TV satellite channels, mostly owned by wealthy Saudis and Qataris, whose governments are now maintaining belligerent relations with Damascus. The reason, Syrians say, is to erase the good image of Syria from other Arab countries’ memory. “They want to fight everything good in Syria. They don’t want us to show our lives, how we take care of each other, how we love each other. They are fighting us actually,” actor Mohamed Rafea told RT.In the past Arab and Gulf viewers were glued to TV screens to watch Syrian series, but since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, the Gulf States want to portray Syria only in a negative light, says actor Milad Yousef.“They wanted to destroy not just our country, but all that's good in our country, and even any positive images of Syria in the minds of other Arab people.”And while huge media outlets play political games, it is the directors and the actors that suffer the most, RT’s Maria Finoshina reports from Damascus.