”I know that my colleagues here at Human Rights Watch, my colleagues who work in journalism, policy-makers, governments all now turn to Your Middle East.”
Those are words from Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa division at the respected watchdog Human Rights Watch. So what is it exactly that Sarah feels so strongly about?
WHAT WE DO
When you browse your daily newspaper or watch the evening news, most of what you are going to see from the Middle East has to do with violence and other forms of conflict. The region is portrayed as one with little diversity. Here at Your Middle East, we find that coverage very disturbing; it is incomplete, often biased, and lacks nuance.
We recognize the tremendous challenges facing many of these countries, and we cover those issues on a daily basis, but there is also a need to broaden the perspective. As Riz Khan points out in the video above, “We need to humanize news a bit more.”
Your Middle East is completely independent – no strings attached to any external interests. We are here to break borders and stereotypes, by helping the world better understand the reality of life in the Middle East.
We’ve covered the Gaza war from the ground, visited Salafists in Cairo who invite Christian youth to their meetings, talked to Saffron retailers in Iran, met Tunisian resistance dancers, and interviewed an atheist in Saudi Arabia. In our first 18 months of operation we have published almost 15,000 articles.
HOW WE DO IT
We are a young, fast moving, grassroots media organization – “cutting edge” to use the words of leading Middle East scholar Joshua Landis – with a rapidly expanding network of more than 200 contributors.
Browse through our network here!
We have managed to make a global impact through contributors like;
- Atiaf Zaid Alwazir, also known on Twitter as @WomanfromYemen
- Ayat Mneina, founder of the Libyan Youth Movement
- David B. Roberts, Director of RUSI Qatar
- Hamid Naficy, Professor of Radio-Television-Film at Northwestern University
- Lama Younis, Saudi Forensic Psychologist and Criminologist
- Lina Ben Mhenni, Tunisian activist, blogger, and teacher at Tunis University
- Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Head of MENA Program at the Geneva Center for Security Policy
- Ruwayda Mustafah Rabar, Kurdish journalist and commentator
- Saeed Ghasseminejad, Director of the Iranian Center for liberalism studies
- Shams Ahsan, Managing Editor at Saudi Gazette
- Vidar Helgesen, Secretary-General of International IDEA
- Shatha al-Harazi, recipient of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award
Today, most traditional news companies struggle with expensive organizations and red numbers. That’s not what we want to do. By engaging bloggers, activists, tweeters, and combining their stories with those of established journalists, academics, and experts, we offer a much more interesting soup than traditional media at a fraction of the cost.
Ironically, this is exactly why many of the more established publications now turn to us for stories they can’t find in the news wires or from their few correspondents. The Washington Post in the US, Austria’s Der Standard, France’s Courrier International and Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter – all leading publications in their respective country – have republished or rewritten our stories. Just to mention a few.
HELP US DO IT
Your Middle East is still in its infancy. Challenging the existing global news reporting is an arduous task that requires a great deal of resources. So far, the people behind the project have financed it with their own savings. We haven’t used any income for salaries.
Now we need your support to reach the next level, expanding our coverage and continue telling these important stories. Our traffic is growing fast, which means that we also need to develop the technical platform to be able to serve tens of thousands readers every day.
If we reach the goal of $50,000, we’ll be able to do the following:
- Double our output in the coming six months
- Get more bloggers, journalists, activists, and experts involved
- Improve our technical platform
- Make the website more user-friendly, dynamic and fun – for YOU!