Shortly after starting university in Syria, Ghazal Khateeb saw her home country erupt into revolution amidst the Arab Spring that was spreading rapidly across the Middle East. Due to the subsequent conflict Ghazal was forced to leave Syria and restart her career in the UK. Below she discusses how journalism in Syria can pose major risks alongside her attempts to continue a media career upon arriving in Britain.
I decided to study media to cover society matters. I was particularly motivated to speak up for Syrian women and children who were suffering in their homeland. I wanted to broadcast their stories to the largest possible audience in order to raise awareness and find solutions to the difficulties they have to encounter.
Very soon after I started my degree, the commencement of the Arab Spring took place, which was followed by significant violence all over the Middle East. As most people know, my home country, Syria, is experiencing an horrific conflict, which is now in its fifth consecutive year.
The revolution in Syria convinced me that studying Media was 100 percent the right choice for me.
Media means a lot to me because it raises the voice of populations and it tells the world what is happening across the globe.
In Syria, most people put themselves in danger just by contacting media channels and newspapers to tell them how we are suffering.
When I came to the UK I was extremely motivated and I had dreams to work in the Media industry, particularly in the aim to become a TV presenter.
However, what surprised me here is that in all Arabic Channels, you cannot just apply for a job position with your CV or through a face-to-face interview like other jobs. The unknown reality is that you need to know or to be known by someone in the television industry to be able to enter, which is a very difficult process.
Thankfully though, I started working as a TV presenter in March 2015. I really do enjoy being on TV, it is something I love indeed.
However, they refused to make me sign a contract and over time my working days began to be reduced from three days a week, to two and then one. Consequently, it was hard for me to continue as they paid daily. I had no choice but to leave the position.
Now media doesn’t mean anything to me, or at least this is how I feel as a consequence of my negative experience.
I have distrusted my CV to all Arabic channels but nothing has happened and I do not have a significant network here in London.
I started to feel sorry for myself for studying Media. My dreams are fading away and I hate this awful feeling but it is the unfortunate truth.
I have good experience in radio, editing and TV but I just need to be given an opportunity.
I am currently teaching Arabic as a freelancer and I have started to look for teaching jobs to make money.
I hope this project will help me to return to my passion and dreams within the Media.