Forget Al Jazeera and WATAN, indie Arab journalism and news sites exist. Best part: they’re honest and human.
Here are some sites I’ve come across and some I follow:
The newest kids on the block, Baynana started April 7, 2021, by Syrian refugees in Spain. Baynana in Arabic means “between us.” The site is available in English, Arabic, and Spanish.
According to a news outlet, Baynana, Spain’s self-proclaimed first refugee-run media outlet, focuses on “the good face of migrants in Spain”. The new online news magazine was founded by four Syrian journalists who fled to Spain in 2019.
According to Bayana’s site, their mission statement is:
Our magazine is a media available on the Internet in both Arabic and Spanish languages, and we adhere to journalistic standards and provide social and public services. Our magazine aims to provide useful and important information to the Arabic-speaking community in Spain, and to build bridges between immigrants, Arab refugees and Spaniards. We are “as a whole”, that is, everyone without exception to anyone.
Another great site that provides holistic information about Arab happenings is InfoMigrants. The site is available in French, Arabic, English, Dari and Pashto.
According to their mission statement:
InfoMigrants is a news and information site for migrants to counter misinformation at every point of their journey: in their country of origin, along the route, or in the places where they hope to start a new life…
Providing verified, reliable news
There is consensus about one idea, however: migrants are in need of verified and balanced information, which is often difficult for them to access during their journey. Even before they leave their homes, migrants are exposed to a proliferation of poor and unreliable information. Studies show that the majority of migrants receive most of their information from human traffickers and smugglers, who seek to mislead and manipulate them.
A partnership between three major news sources
InfoMigrants is a collaboration led by three major European media sources: France Médias Monde (France 24, Radio France International, Monte Carlo Doualiya), the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and the Italian press agency ANSA. InfoMigrants is co-financed by the European Union.
According to their site, Enab Beladi (EB) is an independent Syrian media organization that was founded in 2011. EB offers 24-hour news coverage through its multilingual interactive websites, and it publishes a weekly newspaper that covers Syrian political, social.
The site is available in Arabic and English.
They provide opinion pieces, society pieces, political and economic news, and more.
They have great people pieces, and have a gallery of original images.
The Arab Weekly
According to their site:
The Arab Weekly, launched in April 2015, is an independent English language publication put out by Al Arab Publishing House in London. Besides its online activity, the 24-page weekly is printed in three editions: In the United Kingdom, The United Arab Emirates and The United States.
Its content includes analyses and opinion articles about trends and unfolding developments in the Middle East and North Africa as well as business, culture, society and travel. Its staff and contributors hail from the Arab region and the rest of the world.
The Arab Weekly is distributed every week in UK, EU, US and UAE.
It is also available onboard a number of elite airlines.
Their site is available in English and Arabic.
They cover a number of Arab countries and news across the region. They include debates, interviews, editorials, special focuses, and more.
Middle East Eye
I love their variety across the region, coupled with great writing and in-depth focuses. Their site is available in English and French.
According to their site:
Founded in April 2014, Middle East Eye is an independently funded digital news organisation covering stories from the Middle East and North Africa, as well as related content from beyond the region.
Its unique coverage offers on-the-ground news, comment and analysis that brings local viewpoints to the fore. Reporters are encouraged to read between the lines and take stories one step further rather than simply follow the official narrative.
MEE has broken several major stories, including the end of the siege of eastern Aleppo; the investigation into the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a former MEE writer murdered on the orders of the Saudi Crown prince; how the UK government allowed British-Libyans to fight Gaddafi; a secret Arab plot to oust the Palestinian president; the role of Iranian-backed militia against US forces in Iraq; and how a “woke” social media network for young people was actually a covert UK government programme. More of the very best of MEE content can be found here.
Although headquartered in London, MEE’s coverage is driven by scores of journalists and freelance correspondents, opinion writers and analysts from across the Middle East and North Africa. Its US team includes reporters in New York and Washington. It also has a bureau based in Jerusalem and French-language digital platforms.
In 2019, MEE launched Discover, MEE’s reinvigorated features strand, which casts a fresh eye on the region through arts, culture, lifestyle and travel, including original video. It was highly commended as Best Lifestyle/Leisure News Site at The Drum Online Media Awards 2020.