Truth is mourned daily in conflicts. And the Syrian crisis is an example. Here, a Syrian group of journalists talk about their effort to correct gossips, rumors and fake news.

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Takkad

“IT’S LONG BEEN said that truth is the first casualty of war. Nowhere is that more evident in the world today than in the Syrian conflict, where rumor, hearsay or even fake stories are common in local news sources and social media feeds.

Last year, several Syrian journalists decided that something needed to be done about the situation and, in March, launched Takkad, or Verify, an online platform that exposes and corrects inaccurate news stories and information coming out of Syria. The platform focuses largely on social media, but also examines reports by international news outlets.

The platform is run by a team of volunteers – four editors, five reporters, two translators and two technologists – all of whom have full-time jobs, but spend their spare time hunting down false news.

The website has already built a 30,000-strong readership across its social media platforms and become something of a success story for the post-uprising Syrian media. The website’s mission is to encourage people to verify all information from and about the Syrian war, using at least two sources they deem to be trustworthy.

The platform’s managing editor, 30-year-old Dirar Khattab, spoke to Syria Deeply about his team’s work, and the importance of holding media outlets accountable for the information they share.

Syria Deeply: Where did the idea to form such a platform come from?

Dira Khattab: It is almost impossible to take stock of the number of media publications, news outlets, radio channels and pages that have emerged from Syria specifically, and from the region generally, in the past five years. This never-seen-before freedom to share information and content in the Middle East without government supervision has given people a chance to share unverified information about the events taking place in the country. The new media in Syria is clearly divided on the basis of political and ideological affiliations. Unfortunately, some media outlets don’t have a problem with spreading lies as long as these lies serve a purpose, or an interest.”