Enab Baladi is an independent Syrian nonprofit 501(c)(3) media organization. It was established in 2011 by a group of citizen journalists and activists from Daraya, a Syrian town in Damascus suburbs. The name “Enab Baladi” means “The Grapes of My Country” and the name was chosen as a symbol of Daraya which is well known for producing the best grapes in Syria.

The newspaper was aimed at covering news on the ground and conveying the peaceful message of the Syrian people. In January 29, 2012, issue #0 of the weekly newspaper was published marking the beginning of a revolutionary newspaper. The issue was printed and distributed in Daraya secretly due to Assad regime crackdown on journalists to hide his atrocities. Since then, the newspaper has been printed each week on Sundays nonstop, only with one two-week stoppage in August 2012 due to Daraya Massacre committed by Assad regime forces, where they massacred over 700 civilians and destroyed Enab Baladi’s office.

Enab Baladi’s mission is to serve a role in educating Syrian citizens through in-depth public interest reporting, including investigative journalism and news reports to elevate important social topics at the local level. Enab Baladi helps advance a democratic society in Syria by producing independent and credible journalism that informs the Syrian public about important issues and gives voice to the voiceless Syrians inside and outside Syria.

Since its establishment during the first year of the Syrian uprising, late 2011, Enab Baladi has focused on promoting the peaceful resistance methods to counter the sectarian and violence narratives of the Syrian regime. Enab Baladi succeeded in providing the Syrian people with trusted information about events in Syria through its weekly newspaper. Enab Baladi coverage included the human rights violations perpetrated by the Syrian regime, as well as the inception of the nascent Syrian civil society, in addition to various news and topics in the fields of politics, economy, and social affairs.

Growth

The newspaper grew from amateur-run organization into becoming one of the most prominent Syrian media organizations according to BBC Syria profile page.[1] Currently, Enab Baladi produces several products, Enab Baladi Weekly Newspaper,[2] the Enab Online News Service Website,[3] The Syrian Print-Media Archive,[4] and its latest English news website.[5] These projects are supported by a large network of reporters and journalists who strive to give credible reports on the ground in Syria. Here is a brief description of each of Enab Baladi’s products, along with some statistics:

Enab Baladi Weekly Newspaper

Every week, a new issue of Enab Baladi newspaper is published. The publishing process takes two forms: print and digital. The print version is distributed in Syria as Enab Baladi currently prints around 7,000 copies every week and distributes them in northern parts of Syria (Aleppo and suburbs, Latakia and suburbs, and Idlib and suburbs) and in Turkey to Syrian refugees. Since January 2012, Enab Baladi printed and distributed 650,000 copies of the weekly newspaper. The printing takes place in Turkey and then the copies are shipped to Syria. Enab Baladi used to print and distribute in the southern and middle regions of Syria but after Assad forces destroyed its office and equipment in Daraya, the team was forced to start printing and distributing in northern Syria where Assad forces have no control. The PDF version of the newspaper reaches hundreds of thousands of subscribers and fans, whether through electronic distribution list, Enab Baladi website and social media pages including over 0.65 million Facebook fans.

Enab Baladi Arabic News Website

Launched in September, 2014, Enab Baladi news website covers Syria news on the ground through a network of reporters and journalists. The website had a modest start and grow to publish fifteen pieces of news on daily basis. The news covers social, political, and economic issues of importance to the Syrian public. As of January 2016 (15 months after its launch), the website had three million visitors and 4.3 million page views. The website global rank jumped from 3,000,000 to 62,232 competing with well-established Syrian news websites that have been operating for over ten years.

Enab Baladi English News Website

This is the English version of the Arabic news website. It translates selected news, articles, op-eds, and reports into English. In almost complete absence of foreign media inside Syria, this website serves the role of reporting on the news from inside Syria and presenting it to foreign audience interested in knowing what is really happening on the ground in Syria. The website was launched in January 2016 and has its own social media interfaces: Facebook page and Twitter.

The Syrian Print-Media Archive

In 2013, in an effort to preserve the history of the Syrian conflict and provide easy access to information for Syrians, Enab Baladi started a national archiving project to preserve the Syrian memory by archiving Syrian print media (newspapers and magazines) and present them for free to all Syrians, current and future generations. As of January 2016, the Syrian Print-Media Archive over 6,000 issues of around 290 different newspapers, including pro-Syrian-regime newspapers, that adds up to around 90,000 pages of Syrian print media. The project website not only archives and presents newspapers, but it also provides other services, such as:

  • The search and advanced search features (search by word in pdf documents);
  • Monthly research papers that deeply examine one topic each month and how the Syrian print-media covered it; and
  • Monthly newsletters that provide brief overview of what the Syrian print-media focused on in a certain month.

Enab Baladi Facebook Page

The Arabic news website Facebook page has over 650,000 fans who receive their news from the page. The page posts reach millions of Syrians around the world, especially inside Syria where Enab Baladi website is blocked by the Assad regime.

Enab Baladi Arabic News Android App

The app is targeted at the growing number of mobile users who access Enab Baladi news Arabic website and to give the audience another avenue to reach Enab Baladi. Since its launch in September 2015 (four months ago), the app has been used by around 22,000 users and received 565,000 screen views.

Enab Baladi Google News

Enab Baladi Arabic news website is one of the Arabic news sources on Google news.

Enab Baladi in the International News

Enab Baladi succeeded in drawing the attention of many local and international media. Its story appeared on BBC, France 24 Channel, Spiegel Online International, The Guardian, Al-Arabiya, and Al-Jazeera among many others. The French famous magazine “ELLE” published a story about EB’s women team, “THE “GANG OF GIRLS” RISKS THEIR LIVES TO REPORT FROM INSIDE A WAR ZONE”. Around ten women are working as reporters, editors, and translators for EB. ELLE article tells the story of one of them, Kholoud Waleed, and highlights the role that women played in the establishment of the newspaper, the challenges they faced during their work as citizen journalists in Syria and the success they achieved.

Partnerships, alliances, and coalitions

Enab Baladi built relationships with many international organizations such as National Endowment for Democracy, Internews, Free Press Unlimited, European Endowment for Democracy, l’Association de Soutien aux Médias Libres, Adopt a Revolution, L’agence française de coopération médias, Norwegian People’s Aid, International Media Support and  Journalists for Human Rights.

Enab Baladi also joined many alliances and coalitions:

  • The Ethical Journalism for Syria Alliance (EJSA) in partnership with more than 30 Syrian independent media organization and funded by Free Press Unlimited. The alliance aims at restoring and improving the basic fundamental rights of freedom of speech, thought, and expression in Syria via a gender sensitive multi-level approach.
  • The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC), and implemented a project of documenting the verbal heritage of the Syrian conflict in partnership with ICSC.
  • The Syrian Network for Printed Media (SNP) with four other Syrian independent newspapers, through which, EB is printing and distributing its issues inside and outside Syria.
  • The Syrian Regional Program (SRP) to provide media exposure to Local Councils in Syria, the Assistance Coordination Unit (ACU), in addition to multimedia reports about local initiatives inside Syria.[6]

Awards

The newspaper won two awards through two of its co-founders, Majd Sharbaji who won the U.S. State Department Women of Courage Award,[7] and Kholoud Helmi who won the 2015 Anna Politkovskaya Award [8]

Our Team
Management and Business Development Consultant: Amer Mahdi
Editor in Chief: Jawad Sharbaji
Managing Editor: Ammar Ziadeh
Editors: Kholuod Waleed, Obada Kojan, Hasan Mitliq
Society Columnists: Judi Salam, Baylasan Omar, Kareem Mamoun, Hanin al-Naqri
Economy Columnists: Muhammad Husam Helmi, Abdul Rahman Malek
Opinion: Muhammed Rushdi Sharbaji, Ahmad al-Shami, Malaz al-Zoubi
Reporters (by region):
Damascus and suburbs: Osamah Abdul Rahim, Sham al-Ali
Aleppo and suburbs: Layan al-Halabi, Hana al-Halabi, Tarek Abu Ziad
Deir ez-Zor: Husam al-Jablawi
Daraa: Jamal Ibrahim
Homs: Amir al-Homsi
Turkey: Firas al-Aqaad
Lebanon: Muhammed Tamam, Manal Zaid
Translation: Usayma Salah, Kholoud Hilmi
Proofreader: Bilal al-Ali

References