Enab Baladi

10 February 2014

Enab Baladi (Grapes of My Country in English) is a newspaper launched by a group of young men and women from Darayya, out of the need for independent media to reflect the changes on the ground and join the civil, peaceful movement in Syria. The newspaper -named after the Darayya's most renowned crop- was born to challenge the regime’s four-decade long monopoly over communications. The activists decided to join efforts to provide the city with a different kind of news reports and analysis, which soon became a bi-weekly publication.

The newspaper covers a variety of topics including society, politics, economics and culture. The newspaper also published several specialized issues written by professional journalists on areas such as medical literature, civil resistance and humanitarian aid.

Enab Baladi cooperates with the Syrian Nonviolent Movement on issuing Kite magazine, a bi-monthly magazine addressed to children between the ages of seven and fourteen. Additionally, the newspaper's most recent and important projects is the “Syrian Alternative Media”, which is a newsletter containing the covers and links of nearly all weekly newspapers and magazines of the Syrian Uprising.

On picking the newspaper's stories and articles the editor-in-chief says in an interview with Syria Untold: “the Syrian reality is our biggest inspiration and the main resource of our stories. We focus on the social and humanitarian issues, and highlight them with a number of reports, articles and investigations, to inform the Syrian, Arab and foreign reader.”

The first issue of Enab Baladi was published on January 1st 2012. The event is recalled by one of its founders as “a dream come true that made the whole team cry with happiness.” Since then, more than 90 issues of the newspaper has been published.

The newspaper's goal, in the words of its founders, remains the same as when it was launched: "To promote the principles of the civil state and civil society, which are more crucial now in order to fight the extremism and violence that threaten the spirit of the revolution.”

A child holding the newspaper. Source: Enab Baladi's Facebook page.
A child holding the newspaper. Source: Enab Baladi's Facebook page.
The funding, as one founder explained, came from the team's own pockets, in addition to some contributions from Darayya residents who wanted to support an independent media project in their city. While the project has managed to get support from some media organizations, the team has refused many funding opportunities in order to maintain their independence.

Between August 20-25, hundreds of Darayya residents were massacred after the regime stormed the city, shelling it and carrying house-to-house raids. It was the most dramatic moment in the city's recent history, and it deeply affected the Enab Baladi team. The trauma caused by the loss of friends and relatives and the death of one of the project’s co-founders, Mohammad Quraitem, soon after, led to the subsequent decentralization of the project, which spread to other cities. They started publishing in the northern areas free of regime control, such as Raqqa, Aleppo and Idlib, where there was more room for work.

The team of Enab Baladi has two goals: One, a free civil Syrian state, that is based on justice and equality, and safeguards the rights and dignity of all its citizens. Two, a dream of turning the newspaper into a professional leading organization, that practices pioneer journalistic work, and contributes to the reinforcement of freedom and democracy in Syrian society.


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad