Support “Voices of Syria”: first-hand coverage of the earthquake’s aftermath by its local journalists
After almost 12 years of war Syria has become an information black hole. This problem has been recently exacerbated by the devastating earthquake on February 6, 2023. From Baynana, the first digital magazine founded in Spain by refugee journalists, we are launching our “Voices of Syria” fundraising campaign, a project that will cover first-hand the consequences of the earthquake in Syria, through the eyes of its local journalists. Without intermediaries.
To achieve our goal we need to raise 50,000 euros by Monday, March 6, which will be the one-month anniversary of the earthquake.
What is “Voices of Syria”?
“Voices of Syria” is a project launched by Baynana with the aim to locally cover the aftermath of the earthquake with stories written and recorded by Syrian journalists working on the ground and, at the same time, to support our colleagues in the region.
With “Voices of Syria”, we would like to offer you first-hand coverage from Syria, by Syrian journalists. By funding this project you will be supporting our local colleagues affected by the earthquake, as well as quality journalism.
We want to dignify the work of the local journalists in extremely dangerous places.
“Voices of Syria” will consist of 20 audiovisual stories that will address the reality of Syrian women, men and children living in the northwestern part of the country. This region is practically inaccessible to Western media but we, through our local network of journalists covering the area, will be your eyes there.
Baynana’s team has a wide network of journalists working on the ground. Its four founders, Ayham Al Sati, Moussa al Jamaat, Okba Mohammad and Mohammad Shubat, worked reporting in Syria from 2013 to 2019, the year they arrived in Spain.
They know and are in touch with local reporters who have been covering a range of stories since the start of the war. These journalists know what is to work under life-threatening conditions: constant bombings, armed confrontations and being persecuted for being a journalist.
How are we going to do it?
We need the contribution of individual donors and public and/or private entities to support the project “Voices of Syria”, which will be mainly focused on the northwestern part of the country.
You can donate through this website. Find the information below.
The money raised will be used to:
- Pay Syrian journalists reporting from the northwestern part of the country, which is practically inaccessible to Western media.
- Pay Baynana. From our newsroom in Madrid, we will verify the information sent by our colleagues in Syria, edit, translate, and assemble all the pieces. Baynana will also select the Syrian freelance journalists with a track-record of proven experience on the ground, especially in reporting from Northern Syria.
- Ensure the safety of our journalists: by equipping them with the necessary protective gear. If they ask us to sign with a pseudonym, we will do it to protect their identity in the country.
Your logo will appear in our fundraising site unless you prefer to stay as an anonymous donor. This fundraising campaign will last two weeks,ending on Monday 6th March 2023, which marks the one-month anniversary of the devastating earthquake.
What do we want to achieve?
The advantages of contributing financially to local journalists are many: they know the sociocultural context in which they operate, they speak the language, they understand the internal dynamics of the country, and they have their own mechanisms to verify information. We want to dignify the work of journalists in extremely dangerous places.
Covering information in a country at war is particularly expensive. Local journalists face a general lack of protection due to territorial control mechanisms. In addition, they are suffering from an economic crisis (as a result of the crisis in the Lebanese financial sector), the socioeconomic effects of the preventive measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing shortage of supplies and access to basic services, as a result of the prolongation of the sanctions and the deterioration of large infrastructures, with women and minors being particularly affected.
The goal of this project is to reach 50,000 Euros. We will pay approximately 800 Euros for each journalistic piece carried out in a conflict zone. The amount may vary depending on the danger the journalists have to work under as well as the type and format of the materials they sent: video, photos, text, social media coverage etc. As Baynana, we will be involved in the whole process, mainly as editors of all the information sent by our colleagues in Syria.
Why do we launch “Voices of Syria”?
Syria has practically disappeared from the mainstream media agenda landscape over the past years. But the conflict still exists. It has entered its thirteenth year and the hard reality that the Syrians have been enduring since then is not reflected in the news. The world lost interest in Syria. Until now. The earthquake in Turkey and Syria has changed the storytelling. Syria exists again.
But we still miss a local perspective that enriches the stories. Stories told by Syrian journalists on the ground who have knowledge of the political, financial and cultural affairs of their country and are able to interview local, regional and even national sources to fully report on the issues. We would like to pay for the work of these local journalists, who are putting their lives at risk, while also contributing to the socioeconomic activity of the most devastated Syrian area by the earthquake.
The current situation of the Syrian people has been dramatically worsened since the earthquake. Data from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation states that 90% of the population now lives below the poverty line, up from 80% a year ago, with two million people living in extreme poverty.
With your help, the paid work facilitated to local journalists will contribute to the socioeconomic activity of northwestern Syria, the most devastated area by the earthquake.