The positive media network empowering Palestinian youth and women
In the heart of Palestine, an atypical couple is bringing positivity to the limelight, using their independent media venture, the Baladna Media Network. Founded as a radio station in 2018, Baladna has grown its reach to connect with Palestinians from all corners of the world.
As a Christian-Muslim couple, Mira Al Atrash and Aladdin Alabid aim to break stereotypes surrounding Palestine and promote unity and acceptance about their community.
“When the media writes about Palestine, it is always bad news. We wanted to go beyond the occupation. We wanted to celebrate the success of Palestinians who are presidents, vice-presidents, doctors, actors,” says Mirna, emphasising the need to present a more inspiring portrayal of their community.
But Baladna’s mission goes beyond storytelling; it aims to educate and empower the youth and women of Palestine, who often get overlooked in matters of governance and democracy.
“We have a lot of work to do to build a better knowledge of democracy and elections; and to educate people who do not know their rights and are afraid to speak out,” explains Aladdin.
With a grant from the European Endowment for Democracy, Baladna launched two media programmes which involve live-streamed discussions between local authorities and community members on one side, and journalists conducting surprise visits to public institutions and businesses to advocate for greater accountability and transparency on the other.
The road is not without challenges as demonstrated by the duo’s recent loss of access to their Facebook page. But Baladna Media Network continues to thrive and has been actively engaged with the community during municipal elections. Mirna and Aladdin are now hopeful that presidential and parliamentary elections will soon follow, as they firmly believe in the power of elections to bring about change.
This story is adapted from the #FirstPersonStories series published by European Endowment for Democracy.
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“With each story shared, dialogue built, and knowledge imparted, Baladna moves closer to achieving its vision of a democratic and empowered Palestine.”
The European Endowment for Democracy (EED) is an independent, grant-making organisation, established in 2013 by the European Union and EU member states as an autonomous International Trust Fund to foster democracy in the European Neighbourhood, the Western Balkans, Turkey and beyond. EED supports CSOs, pro-democracy movements, civic and political activists, and independent media platforms and journalists working towards a pluralistic, democratic political system.
TANDEM Media Awards
EU Neighbours South is launching the 2nd edition of the TANDEM Media Awards, a regional media contest, funded by the European Union (EU). The competition is based on the concept of collaborations between pairs. The theme of TANDEM Media Awards is culture, an area in which the EU is active through different types of support and contributions.