April 27, 2016 - Updated on August 19, 2016

RSF Sweden awards press freedom prize to Syrian group “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”

This year’s Press Freedom Prize from the the Swedish section of Reporters Without Borders is awarded to the Syrian group of citizen journalists Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The group provides one of the very few independent voices from within IS controlled territory in northern Syria. Several members of the group have lost their life to get information out to the public.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) is awarded RSF Sweden’s Press Freedom Prize for “their courage to keep reporting, huge personal risks, from a conflict with an almost total information blackout”.

Syria has become the world’s deadliest country for journalists. Professional and citizen-journalists alike are now caught between the various parties to the conflict – both the regime and its allies and the various armed opposition groups including the Kurds and Jihadi fighters such as Islamic State.

RBSS was created in 2014 as the Islamic State (IS) invaded Raqqa and proclaimed it to be the capital of their Caliphate. At the time the group consisted of 17 anonymous members. They gathered information from within the hermetically isolated city and smuggled it out of the country. RBSS is still one of the few independent sources of information from within IS controlled territory.

There’s almost a complete lack of independent information from areas controlled by the Islamic State. Almost everything is propaganda. RBSS’s work is crucial to understand the situation and the personal risks they take is hard to overestimate to bring stories out of the warn-torn country”, says Jonathan Lundqvist, President of RSF Sweden.

RSF Sweden has awarded an annual Press Freedom Prize since 2003. Previous recipients of the award include Dawit Isaak, Martin Adler, Anna Politkovskaya and Malahat Nasibova.

Syria is ranked as number 177 of 180 countries surveyed in Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom Index, updated as late as last week.

Award Ceremony in Stockholm, May 3 2016.

The RSF Sweden Press Freedom Price will be awarded to Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on the World Press Freedom Day, May 3.

Sarmad Al Jilane from RBSS will be present to accept the award on the group’s behalf. Journalists Khaled Alesmael, Bitte Hammargren and Hanin Shakrah will be in a panel to discuss recent developments in Syria.

Date and time: Wed, May 3, 2016, 5 – 6:30 pm

Venue: Kulturhuset Statsteatern, Sergels torg, Stockholm

Contact details

Jonathan Lundqvist

President, RSF Sweden.

[email protected]

+46 70 551 21 50