Syrian journalist wins award for courageous reporting despite dangers

Wed Oct 7, 2015 2:24pm EDT
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By Alex Whiting

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Despite living in hiding and fearing for her life, Syrian journalist Kholoud Waleed persists in reporting on the suffering and atrocities inflicted on her fellow countrymen in the long-running civil war.

The 31-year-old, who has been targeted by both government and militant forces, set up an underground newspaper in 2012 with a group of female friends, to report on what was happening in Syria.

On Wednesday she was awarded the annual Reach All Women in WAR (RAW in WAR) Anna Politkovskaya Award for her work in keeping people in Syria informed about the war, and for speaking out against the violence.

"The Syrian media always conveyed the same, that there was no conflict, no demonstrations, no shelling, no bombardment, nothing," Waleed (not her real name) said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"The message from the regime is 'the sun is shining, the birds are singing, nothing, nothing at all is happening in Syria,'" she added.

The group wanted to use their underground newspaper, "Enab Baladi" (Grapes of My Country), also to show the international community what was happening in Syria, and document crimes being committed there.

Waleed now lives in hiding after some of her colleagues were detained and questioned by government security forces.

"We lost many friends," she said. Three have been killed, three are in detention, and others have been released from detention, she said.   Continued...