Syrian communists, who are allied to the ruling Baath Party within the National Progressive Front (NPF), on Thursday hailed as democratic a decision to allow NPF members to publish newspapers.
During a meeting on Wednesday chaired by President Bashar al-Assad, the Baath Party decided to allow the seven parties in the NPF coalition to publish and distribute officially and publicly their newspapers.
Yussef Faisal, secretary general of one of the two factions of the Syrian Communist Party (SCP), told Ath-Thawra newspaper that the decision amounted to "veritable democratic practice bolstering the principles of civil society."
"The SCP will defend the rights and interests of the people and the workers," he said. "We will make our newspaper a tribune against corruption and for economic and social development."
Meanwhile, Wissal Bakdashes, secretary general of the other SCP faction, also quoted by the official Ath-Thawra, termed as "extremely important this decision taken despite the circumstances affecting the region."
In 1986, the SCP split into two factions, each keeping the same name and each publishing an unofficial bi-weekly newspaper, Nidal al-Shaab.
The NPF coalition, which Assad's later father Hafez al-Assad set up in 1972, is made up of the Baath, the two communist parties, the Arab Socialist Union Party, the Socialist Union Party, the Arab Socialist Party, and Socialist Unionist Democratic Party.
All the media is owned by the state in Syria, with three main newspapers, al-Baath, Tishrin and Ath-Thwara published in Damascus and other dailies in the main cities – DAMASCUS (AFP)
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