Four journalists set up a refugee-led news outlet in Madrid after fleeing Syria

Three male journalists around a wooden table in front of a large window looking out toward an adjacent building in Spain.
Three journalists who set up shop in Madrid after fleeing Syria.

  • After fleeing war-torn Syria, four journalists founded Spain’s first refugee-led news site.
  • The journalists are Ayham al-Gareeb, Mohammad Shubat, Mousa al-Jamaat, and Okba Mohammad.
  • The site, called Baynana, publishes news in both Arabic and Spanish and aims to cater to the growing Arabic-speaking community in Spain.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Four journalists set up shop in Madrid after upending their lives and fleeing their homes in Syria due to war and other difficult conditions.

The journalists – Ayham al-Gareeb, Mohammad Shubat, Mousa al-Jamaat, and Okba Mohammad – were among a group of 11 rescued from dire conditions in Syria by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

At this time in Syria, the Middle Eastern country was wrapped up in the Daraa insurgency. The Syrian army and anti-government forces have long been engaged in a conflict that’s still ongoing today. The conflict has led to tension between the Syrian government and rebel forces, as well as hundreds of armed clashes.

In the midst of this conflict, the four men fled Syria and arrived in Madrid in May 2019. Two years later, they founded Baynana, Spain’s first refugee-led news site, according to the CPJ.

The site publishes news in both Arabic and Spanish, aiming “to provide useful information for the growing Arabic-speaking community in Spain and counter negative stereotypes surrounding migrants and refugees,” the CPJ said in a press release.

The journalists who started the news site credit and extend thanks to the CPJ.

“CPJ has helped us in so many ways,” said al-Gareeb, who serves as the site’s editor. “Firstly, they helped us to get out of war and relocate to a safe country like Spain. In my case, they also helped my wife and daughters to get here.”

“CPJ also helped us to start Baynana and that will help us to continue to work in journalism, something we love,” al-Gareeb added.

They started Baynana with the help of porCausa, a Spanish foundation dedicated to the advancement of investigative journalism and migration-related news, the CPJ said.

“The launching of Baynana is one of the most exciting developments in the Spanish media landscape in recent years,” CPJ program director Carlos Martinez said in the press release. “It will consistently bring other voices and perspectives to the conversation on key topics and issues, and will enrich the overall journalism community.”

Insider is covering this news as part of The One Free Press Coalition, which raises awareness of the world’s persecuted journalists.

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