A group of Iranian activists and citizen-journalists launched a Facebook page in both Persian and English with the aim of informing the Iranian public about their government’s policies and direct involvement in Syria.
Using the name “Naame Shaam” (نامه شام), or “Letters from Syria,” the project is a source of independent and reliable news and commentary on the Syrian revolution and the Iranian regime’s role in trying to suppress it.
The idea of the project developed following Friday protests in Syria on November 8, 2013. Like every Friday since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, anti-regime protests were held all over Syria. The name given by protesters to this particular Friday was, “The Friday of No to the Iranian Occupation of Syria”.
Since then, the project’s team had been developing the Facebook page until they “felt ready to go public.” A proper website will also be launched soon.
Speaking from Tehran, one of the project’s founders, citizen-journalist Amir Sahabi, said: “While watching the pictures and videos of the protests, it struck us that we as Iranians know so little about what is actually happening in Syria. Most of our information comes from biased, state-controlled media.”
“There is also very little concrete and reliable information about Iran’s role in Syria,” Sahabi added. “How much public money is the Iranian government wasting on arming Bashar al-Assad’s regime in its war against the Syrian people? How many Iranians from Sepah Pasdaran are fighting in Syria alongside regime forces, or are Iranians really just acting there as ‘advisers’, as the government claims? What is the extent of the involvement of Hezbollah in Syria?”
Ali Shirazi, another Iranian citizen-journalist involved in the project, said from Qom: “We want to highlight the impact of the Syrian war on the Iranian people – economically, politically and morally.”
Explaining how the project will work, Shirazi added: “Our main task will be monitoring and debunking the pro-Syrian regime propaganda coming from the Iranian government and its media. We will also be reporting and commenting on major events in Syria from an independent Iranian perspective. There are no Iranian media outlets that do this. We have a network of dedicated correspondents in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and other countries. Our other, politically independent sources include Syrian citizen-journalists, human rights organizations and activist groups.”
“While we do not hide our solidarity with the Syrian people in their struggle for dignity and freedom, we will do our best to remain accurate and truthful and apply the highest journalistic standards to everything we do,” Shirazi added.
For further questions: Please contact Naame Shaam on Facebook, visit http://www.naameshaam.org, follow @naameshaam, or email us at naame.sham[at]gmail.com. We appreciate your understanding that we cannot provide any further contact details, such as phone numbers, or reveal our real identities. Iran is not a safe place for activists working on issues deemed to be a “red line” by the government or who are perceived to be a “threat to national security”.
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