Syria: Journalist Mazen Darwish Released

One of Syria’s boldest journalists, Mazen Darwish, has been released after three years [five months and 23 days] in Syrian prisons.  He was the director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression when he was arrested in February 2012 for “promoting terrorist acts.”

Syria Darwish

In a letter smuggled out of prison in 2014 he thanked English PEN for its award to him as International Writer of Courage.

“…we are today, paying the high, bloodsoaked price of that collusion [of silence over Salman Rusdie’s fatwa] , and finding ourselves the main victims of the obscurantist ideology now infiltrating our homes and our cities. What a great shame that it has taken us all of this bloodshed to arrive at the belief that we are the ones who will pay the price for preventing those with whom we disagree from expressing their views – and that we will pay with our lives and our futures. What a shame this much blood has had to be spilled for us to realise, finally, that we are digging our own graves when we allow thought to be crushed by accusations of unbelief, calling people infidels, and when we allow opinion to be countered with violence. The disastrous consequences of this are clearly evident today across the Arab world, and especially in Syria, my country, where the ugliest forms of fascism and the dirtiest kinds of barbarism are practised in the name of both patriotism and Islam in equal measure.

Al Arabiya

Reporters Without Borders


Rules for New Journalists

Eric Alterman sums up his years of journalism, writing about journalism and teaching journalism:

What to remember when covering a major political event, such as a debate

  • The candidate who appears more “energetic” wins, period.
  • How a candidate makes you “feel” is more important than what he or she actually says.
  • What a candidate said yesterday is irrelevant. What he or she is saying now is what matters because nobody was paying attention before, and if they were, they won’t remember it anyway.
  • Elections are not run for fact checkers; debates even less so. (And conventions? Don’t get me started.)
  • Policy details are for nerds and little magazines.