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News | Freedom is the first choice

Bosch gives a forum journalists in exile

Developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung

For journalists in exile who have fled from dictatorships and warzones, the right to free elections is an important accomplishment in the fight for freedom and against repression. Ahead of the German federal election on September 24, Robert Bosch Stiftung, the German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel, and Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung cooperated to organize a special lecture series that focused on freedom. Over the course of workshops, journalists who fled from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan discussed the topics of freedom, democracy, and self-determination. Their contributions were subsequently published in a special section of the Tagesspiegel entitled “We Choose Freedom”.

Jamal Ali (Foto: Doris Klaas)

 

"I am free when I don’t have to justify who I am. When I came to Germany, I felt totally free; I was euphoric. I came straight from prison straight to Berlin. Sometimes I feel that my freedom is compromised because I have to justify why I am here. I want to feel accepted, or at the very least tolerated."

Jamal Ali (30, Azerbaijan, in Germany since 2012) works for Meydan TV, the broadcaster by Azerbaijanis in exile. He is also a trainee at ALEX Berlin. In his article, he describes the status of journalists in his home country and the influence of oil imports on European foreign policy.

 

Negin Behkam (Foto: Doris Klaas)


"What does freedom mean to me? That I am no longer obliged to wear the hijab in public. Or that I don’t need to worry about going to jail for expressing my opinion. Of course, I have more freedom in Germany than in Iran. But my fight for freedom continues here. I would like this society to perceive me as an individual one day, and not only as a representative of the country I fled from, and of a religion that I was oppressed by."

Negin Behkam (33, Iran) has been in Berlin since 2011, where she works for the “Amal, Berlin!” news platform. Her article addresses the political system in Iran and the debate about the dominant German culture.

Mustafa Aldabbas (Foto: Kitty Kleist-Heinrich)


"For me, freedom means having the possibility of writing freely as a journalist, and of openly expressing criticism without running the risk of being censored or placed on a black list. As a gay man, freedom means being able to be open about my sexuality without worrying that I could be discriminated against, tortured, or even killed. Freedom is about being protected by laws that provide me with the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen. Ultimately, everyone defines freedom differently, and yet we must all be committed to defending it."

Mustafa Ahmad Aldabbas (30, Syria) came to Germany in 2015. A freelance journalist, his article focuses on the way in which homosexuality is viewed in Arab countries and in Germany.

 

The “We Choose Freedom” project is part of Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Migration, Integration, Participation initiative, which aims to actively promote and shape cultural and religious diversity in Germany. 

More information about the “We Choose Freedom” project and all the corresponding articles can be found here: Link

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