On the 18th and 19th February, RSF organised in Istanbul a training in Istanbul on the basics of journalism for 5 Syrian journalists, four of them exiled in Turkey and working for Syrian media, the fifth one still in Syria working as freelance reporter covering the war. This training, conducted within the framework of ProtectDefenders.eu, responded to their needs to be trained on the essential rudiments and principles of journalism, as well as on security, as they all learnt the profession by doing and never had the opportunity to be trained as such.
The training was led by a French journalist, Sophie Nivelle Cardinale, who is working with several French information media, and who has documented the war in Syria on several occasions. The RSF Head of Middle-East desk also followed the training and met with the participants.
One of the participants, Hadi Abdullah, was awarded in November 2016, 2016 RSF-TV5 Monde Press Freedom prize in the journalist category. He is a 29-year-old freelance reporter who has braved many dangers to cover the war in Syria, entering high-risk areas where few colleagues venture in order to film and to enable civil society’s actors to speak to the outside world. By his courage, Hadi Abdullah has become the international community’s eyes, reporting the atrocities committed every day in Syria.
For this reason, he is now a target for both pro-government forces and armed groups. He has had many brushes with death and was briefly kidnapped by the Al-Nusra Front last January. His cameraman, Khaled al-Issa, was killed in June by an explosive device left outside the home they shared, and Abdullah himself was badly injured by the blast.