As refugees flee Syria, the world watches the humanitarian crisis in horror. The people that live there suffer from the violence of their civil war, and they demand to be heard.
This is why Zaina Erhaim has taken it upon herself to train nearly 100 citizen journalists in her country of Syria, a third of which have been women. This effort has allowed more people to put news out about the civil war in the form of newly established independent news sources. Her students have gone on to be successful in many ways, sometimes resulting in their work gaining international recognition.
Erhaim’s efforts have gained the attention of Agence France-Presse, the third largest international news organization, Global Media Forum, and Reporters Without Borders. They’ve seen her efforts to further journalistic ideals and ethics in the most dangerous country for journalists since 2011. As of September 2015, 85 journalists have been killed in Syria in an effort to cover the crisis.
In a ceremony on October 22nd, Erhaim will be awarded with the 2015 Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism. The award is named after Peter Mackler, a journalist who passed away in 2008. This is a highly prestigious award intended to honor journalists, often working alone, who put their lives at risk to record history and enable free press in difficult situations.
Camille Marckler, the Peter Mackler Award project director, spoke highly of Erhaim’s work. “Zaina Erhaim is a force multiplier of journalistic values in a country torn by violence and irrationality. We salute her courage, upholding professional ethics and bringing them to the service of those left to write history.”