From Journalist to Refugee and Back to Journalist

Conflicts take a toll on the flow of information. That’s not only because the “fog of war” turn truth into a casualty. First and foremost, wars kill journalists, as well as any other civilians.

Yet covering wars is the quintessential calling of many reporters. Some die on duty but some others have no other choice but to leave, like the rest of their fellow countrymen. But as soon as they become refugees and are safe, something is amiss for a journalist. They feel like the soldier who has deserted the battlefield.

This is the case of Aziz Rahman, an Afghan reporter who is a now a refugee in London. A well-known figure in his own country, Mr. Rahman worked initially at a liquor store in his new home. It was a change of status he felt acutely, but not for long.

Mr. Rahman is one of the 36 participants of the Refugee Journalism Project, an initiative by the London College of Communication and the Migrants Resource Centre. The project helps reporters from Syria, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Cuba, among other countries, rebuild their careers in the United Kingdom.

So successful has been the initiative that Mr. Rahman is now the presenter and producer of Afghan Voice, a community radio station for his countrymen in Britain. Yet he has his eyes on a more distant horizon. He does not want to be simply a community journalist and a voice for fellow refugees.

His goal is to become, once again, a journalist. “As a journalist you can report all over the world – journalists from here go to report in Syria, all over the world: I want to do that too,” he says. “It’s a new start for me.” And also, we add, for a public starving for truth.

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