57,000 USD from DJ Safety to Syrian journalists

Journalists in northern Syria struggle to continue their work after February’s massive earthquakes made life even harder for them than it already was. DJ Safety will give 57,000 USD to support journalists in distress and help to ensure media continuity in northern Syria.

Independent journalists reporting from within Syria are an extremely vulnerable group: A lot of them are forced to work under-cover, most of them are internally displaces and have been exposed to threats or violence. Since the earthquake last month, the situation has become even more dire and the UN as well as relief agencies have had difficulties delivering aid. Further, the area is incredibly hard to cover for international media due to the safety risks involved with sending reporters into Syria at this time. This means that the coverage done by local journalists is crucial.

Through DJ Safety, approximately 80 Syrian journalists who are still actively reporting will receive support so that they can continue their work.  

“The Syrian journalists were already prior to the earthquake threatened because of their profession. And the latest weeks, they have been left with broken equipment and without roofs over their heads. That is why they are now receiving extraordinary help from the members of the Danish Union of Journalists through DJ Safety,” says Tine Johansen, president of the union.

The money can go to supporting journalists with basic necessities, replacing equipment and providing shelter and spaces to work from.

We need to protect independent Syrian press

An estimated 50,000 people have lost their lives because of the earthquake. In northern Syria there has not only been a lack of aid, coverage of the consequences of the disaster in this region has also been low. IMS (International Media Support) will coordinate the work of the DJ Safety activities and has been working in Syria both before and during the war and can cooperate with trusted partners to administer the help to the group of journalists that are working in an already strained media landscape that is on the verge of dissolving after twelve years of operating in conflict.

“There is a risk that a conflict-ridden area will be left without a free and independent press. This is why we have a special obligation to help the Syrian journalists, who are not only facing the destruction of a natural disaster but are also exposed to safety threats and are living under extremely difficult circumstances. The help from DJ Safety comes at a crucial moment in time. We would like to – on behave of the journalists – to thank everyone who has made this support possible,” Jesper Højberg, director of IMS, says.

Nearly all journalists in northern Syria are affected both professionally and personally. Many have lost equipment or lost their homes. Some has lost family members and friends.

The Syrian journalists will receive a total amount of nearly 57,000 USD from the DJ Safety Fund which will be distributed among around 80 individual journalists. The money will be administered and distributed in cooperation with the Syrian Journalists Association and IMS partner SSU (Stabilization Support Unit).  

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