“Who inspires me? All the unknown female journalists working inside Syria right now that no one knows about.”
Milia Eidmouni is a freelance journalist who left Damascus for Jordan in 2013 due to political pressure. Together with her colleague Rula Asad, she founded the Syrian Female Journalists Network. Milia’s work promotes a better understanding of the role of Syrian women in the uprising and break the stereotypes surrounding female journalists in the region.
What is it like to be a woman journalist in Syria?
No one protects you. There’s no security or safety for citizen journalists who are covering the war. As a woman journalist, you can’t go to the frontlines because they will say, “Ah, you’re a woman, go with a man so he can protect you.”
How does your work as a journalist connect to promoting justice in Syria?
I’m trying to do my best to promote justice through training journalists. In Syria, few journalists are educated in how to write about women’s issues. Covering the untold stories is how we contribute to justice.
Can you tell me more about the Syrian Female Journalist Network?
The Network has three goals: to improve the capacity of journalists to write about gender justice and women’s rights; to raise public awareness through campaigns; and to create a journalistic code of conduct to break stereotypes of women in media.
What’s missing from the conversation around Syrian women?
Foreign media tries to portray Syrian women as one dimensional – she’s a victim, a mother of a detainee, a wife of a prisoner, a hostage in a hostile country waiting for humanitarian aid. But from Day One, women were part of the uprising. They took to the streets, they helped in the field hospitals, they created community centres to support each other in their local communities. Syrian women as refugees are also breaking stereotypes and changing the image of Syrian women. No one talks about the challenges they are facing [in Jordan] after four or five years of being a refugee.
How is citizen journalism shaping the way that the world sees the conflict in Syria?
During the revolution, so many citizens in Syria wrote and posted about what they were witnessing. Every citizen can contribute to justice through documentation, writing their testimonies, promoting peace and justice in their communities. Media plays a big role – they can change the minds and attitudes of the community.
Visit the Syrian Female Journalist Network website.
Meet the Group Enabling Syria’s Female Journalists, News Deeply, 31 March 2016.
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