Television in Syria was formed in 1960, when Syria and Egypt (which adopted television that same year) were part of the United Arab Republic. It broadcast in black and white until 1976. In 1985 a second channel was established and in 1995 Syrian television rented a channel on Arabsat and it started broadcasting eight hours daily via satellite in 1996. Syrian channels are mostly owned and controlled by the Syrian Arab Television and Radio Broadcasting Commission (SATRBC) which connected to the Ministry of Information. It has 4,800 staff; both government employees and freelancers.
Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, the state has been engaging in a “media war” to combat the criticisms broadcast from other popular media outlets viewed in the Arab World and internationally, such as Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera. Syrian television coverage champions the government against rebel forces such as Al-Nusra Front, Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front. According to BBC Arabic, it also tends to omit or downplay reports of civilian casualties in its coverage of confrontations with “terrorist” groups. The Arab League officially asked the satellite operators Arabsat and Nilesat to stop broadcasting Syrian media in June 2012. On April 27, 2013, Al Jazeera announced that it was suspending indefinitely its activities throughout Syria because of alleged intimidation and threats against its staff.