A summer of danger.
The last season was particularly deadly for journalists especially in conflict zones such as Somalia and Syria. According to Reporter without Borders, since the beginning of June, nine journalists were killed. Two journalists died in Somalia and five in Syria, which are both currently in the midst of civil war. One journalist was killed in Iraq and another one in Mexico.
In the rest of the world many journalists have been persecuted, threatened, attacked or jailed, and some have fled their country to avoid being killed. Many of these victims contact the Doha Centre for Media Freedom (DCMF).
Every morning when the Emergency Assistance team comes to the office they receive between 20 to 30 emails from journalists in danger. These journalists who get in touch with DCMF usually ask for medical and legal assistance, explained Ole Chavannes, Emergency Assistance senior coordinator.
This department was officially launched in January 2012 and is composed of three people receiving assistance requests from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and from the Arab World.
The Emergency Assistance department aims at helping journalists and bloggers in danger. “We make sure that journalists in trouble do not feel alone. Every request is answered in 24 hours.” said Chavannes.
The department in action
For the first time since its launch, EA helped someone in Bahrain, by assisting a citizen journalistthis summer. Nader Abduleman is very active on social networks, especially on Twitter where his account has 45,000 followers. During the popular uprising he reported on the abuses committed by security forces on demonstrators.
Nader suffered a severe wound to his mouth during a protest in Manama on the 13th of January 2012. Prominent human rights activist, Nabil Rajab had called the opposition to gather at this protest.
During the demonstration, Nader was attacked by the security forces and beaten on his head. He had to be driven to the nearest hospital immediately; his mouth was badly injured and he lost many of his teeth.
The necessary healthcare was unavailable in Bahrain, so his doctors advised him to go to Lebanon to have emergency surgery
« I was first helped by Reporter without Borders, they took in charge the surgery fees but I had to take a loan to pay for my daily needs there in Lebanon until I got the DCMF financial help because I didn’t contact the Centre right after my attack” explained Nader, adding “this financial help was very useful to get a treatment, to buy medicine and also pay my rent in Lebanon.”
During June, July and August, 39 journalists asked officially for assistance, and 12 received a positive response and were granted help .
One of these cases is Paul Gitau Kinyanjui, a journalist who works for many media outlets in Kenya including the daily Standard Newspaper. On the 1st of July he published a story on the Italian mafia’s illegal activities taking place in his city Malindi (on the Indian Ocean). After this story he was threatened over the phone.
After filing a complaint at the local police station, Paul contacted NGOs including DCMF. “My life is in danger because I have a group of Italians after me,” he reported. Paul wants to leave Malindi where he feels his life is in danger.
EA granted him a financial help so he can relocate. Like all journalists who have been granted assistance by the Centre, Paul will have to provide a justification of spending and proof that the money sent helped him to relocate.
How to contact Emergency Assistance department?
Emergency Assistance provides direct support, within its means, to journalists who urgently need help as a result of their work. When the request meets the criteria a detailed request form will be sent
Twitter: @DCMF emergency
Tél: +974 6652 0553
Fax: +974 4421 3718