Refugee Journalists redefine Citizen Journalist

Za'atri Refugee Camp from above. Via Creative Commons.
Za’atri Refugee Camp from above. Via Creative Commons.

In searching for some citizen journalists who specifically cover refugee rights, I stumbled on an exciting trend. The citizen journalists in many of these cases are actually refugees themselves.

One of the best example of this is The Voice, a blog run by Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)-Legal Aid, allows groups of Syrian refugees in the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan to share their neighbors and their own stories. With the perfect understanding of what it’s like to be a refugee, these men and women are able to voice their problems and grievances, while explaining how they are coping in their situation.

One of the most interesting differences in how these individuals report stories about refugee rights is how they frame the story. In “A Life of Hell,” the author, Hanadi (recognized only by her first name to protect her as a working woman), writes in the context of her Muslim beliefs, citing Allah as a key in her source’s success. Though the New York Times would never focus on this in a story about refugees, highlighting the conditions or backstory of the refugee, Hanadi speaks from the perspective of a refugee, who understands the importance of faith in surviving.

She explains all of the important facts, but adds humanity to the piece.

The refugees themselves feel catharsis in reporting and making sure their voices are heard online. “I felt that this project gave me back my humanity that I’d lost for a while. It let me scream out loud,” Hamida, another member of the Voice project, told Oxfam America.

Refugee Journalists redefine Citizen Journalist

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