Journalism in Times of War

Telling the human stories from Syria, Yemen, Libya and other conflict areas means a vast number of reporters, citizen journalists and media activists find themselves pushed deeper into the ever-shifting conflicts.

In the Middle East, not a day passes without a journalist being pursued, censored, harassed, kidnapped, imprisoned or even killed.

Journalism In Times of War, edited by Awad Joumaa and Khaled Ramadan, is rooted in this region. The book examines how journalists in the Middle East gather reports and protect themselves and their sources from harm in conflict areas. It also addresses the challenge of hate speech and the changes brought about by the digital world.

The editors have also put together some of the best practical steps journalists can take to avoid harm when reporting from areas where they face acute risk. They even discuss how to conduct open source verification and fact-checking in conflict areas.

By transferring the accumulated knowledge of many contributors with decades of reporting experience to their name, the book draws on the knowledge of experienced reporters, citizen journalists and media activists to provide a practical manual for aspiring war correspondents and those who want to work in the field.

With a foreword by Professor Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University, the contributions range from award-winning Lebanese war correspondent Zeina Khodr to renowned Syrian media activist Zaina Erhaim and Peter Greste, the Al Jazeera journalist who spent 400 days in some of Egypt’s most notorious prisons.


Editors' Note

Awad Joumaa and Khaled Ramadan


Close Up and Personal

Hamid Dabashi


War Journalism – Lessons Learned and Practical Advice

Chapter 1

A Struggle Within a Struggle: Media Coverage and Censorship in Yemen

Interview with Bashraheel Hisham Bashraheel

Chapter 2

Despite Barriers and Hazards: A Woman’s Experience Working in Gaza

Ameera Ahmad Harouda

Chapter 3

Lessons from a War Correspondent

Interview with Zeina Khodr

Chapter 4

War on Your Doorsteps: Journalism and Activism

Zaina Erhaim

Chapter 5

Reporting Under Occupation in Palestine

Interview with Tamer Al-Meshal

Chapter 6

Tales of a Local: Freelance Journalist in Yemen

Muatasm Alhitari


From the Digital Trenches: Transforming War Cove age

Chapter 7

Digital Sherlocks: Open Source Investigation and New Verification During Wartime

Christiaan Triebert and Hadi Al-Khatib

Chapter 8

War Stories Through Social Media: Audience Engagement and Ethical Hiring Practices

Sakhr Al-Makhadhi

Chapter 9

Beyond Bystanders: Citizen Journalism During the Egyptian Revolution

Khaled Faheem


Making Journalism Better and Safer

Chapter 10

Protection of Journalists under Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law

Abou Abass

Chapter 11

Closing the Door on Inciting Violence: How to Avoid Hate Speech

Ibrahim Saber

Chapter 12

Professional Integrity: The Cornerstone of Protection

Peter Greste

Chapter 13

Good Governance in Media Organisations

Aidan White

The Book

Notable Testimonials

Noam Chomsky

Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 2011

Journalist have to be honest and courageous, especially in times of war, when it is difficult for people to find out the truth. This book, written by young journalists who have engaged in a battle to defend independent journalism and paid a heavy price for their adherence, offers valuable experiences and testimonies. It could certainly act as a catalyst for further struggle for freedom in this troubled war. Whoever helps people learn the truth deserves special mention

Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International

A fascinating read and excellent resource for understanding the challenges of reporting in the Middle East- where in recent years a plethora new conflicts and the spread of social media and new technology tool have revolutionized journalism more than anywhere else in the world. The book lays bare many of the pitfalls and opportunities of this new reporting environment

Solomon Tsegaye, Correspondent Ethiopian Broadcast Cooperation

I really appreciate the content brought to us by the editors. The book is highly interesting and will serve as a reference book for any media house in Ethiopia

Elias Ramadan, University of Copenhagen

This book gave me a greater understanding of how reporting from war zones is done in the most professional manner. I couldn't find any book that covers the topic so briefly and all-encompassing at the same time. In a few words, it cuts straight to the chase.

Dorian Batycka, Journalist, Curator and Art Critic

The book is essential reading and practical advice not only for journalists, but also for artists, curators and activists working in challenging situations. I have learned from it on a personal, professional and ethical level

Masih Sadat, Editor-in-Chief at Turban Times

As a student intending to work with journalism in Palestine and the Middle East region, I find myself constantly concerned about not only the physical risks attached to operating in war and conflict zones, but even more the immense responsibility as an outsider and the ethical quandaries. For this reason, Journalism in Times of War is of absolute value; communicating concrete experiences of local media professionals in the Arab world, this unique, up-to-date, well-balanced, and informative guidebook has offered me essential perspectives and tips on best dealing with creating responsible and important journalism in a context where the challenges are countless but the need for coverage and documentation increasingly crucial.

Juan Cole, Author of "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East"

It is such a great project to have the war correspondents speak of their experiences and their craft inside the covers of a single volume.

Jenifer Fenton, Poynter Journalism Fellow-in-Residence at Yale 2017-2018

"This is intimate on-the-ground journalism that grasps the devastation and suffering of conflict, and the difficulties encountered when reporting. The diverse stories of journalists working in volatile conditions draw the reader in and make visible how challenging it can be to reveal the truth."