Radio Fresh, based in the province of Idlib in Syria, is a community radio station in the truest sense. Its network of reporters track the course of fighter jets and provide early warnings of impending bombings to their listeners three to five minutes ahead of time. Its trained team of brave reporters discuss local issues, investigate cases of injustice, and hold authorities to account.

They make sure war crimes are recorded and local people are informed about every development in the growing crisis.

Now cuts in international aid mean one of the few independent radio stations in the last remaining areas outside of Assad’s control may be forced off air.

Aware that radio is a force for social change, Radio Fresh broadcasts talk shows and drama series that push back against extremist views.

When the extremist Al Qaeda-affiliated group Tahrir Al Sham banned the station from playing music and tried to take female reporters off air, Radio Fresh replaced music with animal sounds and used software to distort the voices of women on the team in jest, to make them sound only a little bit like men.

The head of Radio Fresh, Raed Fares, has been abducted, survived an assassination attempt and received death threats for reporting impartial news to thousands across Syria but now Raed is less worried about Tahrir Al Sham (music is playing once again) and deeply concerned about Assad’s imminent offensive and the future of Idlib’s favourite radio station.

At a time when Syrian and Russian forces threaten to intensify their offensive against 3 million people in northwest Syria, local journalism and balanced reporting from the ground is needed now more than ever.

Radio Fresh’s 175-strong team of men and women are now working for free but broadcasting costs are mounting and without £11,000 per month, the station will have to shut down completely.

Raed and his team’s dedication to news will not be halted by the likely intensification in airstrikes on Idlib – a car and transmitter are on standby to allow broadcast from remote safer locations two or three hours at a time – but without funds, the people of Idlib will lose an essential public service at such an urgent time. Please give what you can to keep Radio Fresh running and serving 3 million people in northwest Syria.

 

Listen to Raed Fares talk about Radio Fresh on the BBC’s Today programme here. (35 mins in)

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Keep Radio Fresh on the Air

Radio Fresh is an important public service broadcaster in Idlib, but funding cuts mean it might be forced off the air. Please keep it running by donating what you can to cover broadcasting costs.
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    Recent donations

    • Pat, United Kingdom
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