Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Syrian citizen journalists win RWB's Netizen Prize

Syrian citizen journalists and activists have been awarded the 2012 Reporters Without Borders Netizen Prize sponsored by Google.

The media centre of the Local Coordination Committees brings together groups of citizen journalists to collect and disseminate information and images of Syria’s uprising.

Jasmine, a 27-year-old Syrian activist who now lives in Canada, accepted the award on behalf of the activists inside of the country.

“The Netizen Prize proves that our voices were heard and that we succeeded in delivering the stories of millions of Syrians who are struggling on the ground to achieve what they have always dreamed - to live in freedom and dignity,” Jasmine said. “Thank you for acknowledging our presence as an active and effective media organization.”

RWB says Syrian journalists and bloggers are threatened and arrested by the government while iInternational news organisations are, for the most part, kept out of the country, adding: "In their absence, the committees are almost the only way to keep the world abreast of the violence wracking the country. They emerged spontaneously following the start of the Syrian revolution last March, bringing together human rights activists and local journalists, and now are found in most cities and towns across the country.

"Informants on the ground send information and the committees confirm it from multiple sources. A third group translates the news into English and distributes it on the group’s website. Videos and pictures are posted on Facebook and on a photo blog."

The award was made on World Day Against Cyber Censorship at a ceremony in Paris last night.

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