War reporters bring untold stories to Byline Fest

by ECPMF staff

Freelancers who daily risk their lives to cover conflict will tell their stories in the ECPMF tent at the Byline Festival, the UK's first-ever festival of independent journalism.

Photo by Anne Alling_900X600 Photographer Osie Greenway (left) and writer Igor Kossov (right), both part of The War Zone freelance Project, cover an offensive by the Iraqi Federal Police pushing further into west Mosul's city center to retake the rest of the city fro Islamic State militants control in March 2017. (Photo: Anne Alling)

Danish journalist Anne Alling is one of the founders of the War Zone Freelance Project (WZF), which aims to get better recognition for the special role of freelancers. She and her colleague Osie Greenway, the Project Director, will discuss their work at the Byline Festival in Sussex, UK.

BBC Afghanistan correspondent Kawoon Khamoosh joins the workshop to share his stories of war and peace in an interactive talk with festivalgoers on 3 June 2017, with the ECPMF's Jane Whyatt. Whyatt has experience as an embedded reporter in the 1982 Falklands conflict – a very different perspective.

The WZF was established by four independent journalists and members of the Frontline Freelance Register: Alling, Greenway, Benjamin Hiller and Jeffry Ruigendjik. Their website explains that they were "motivated by the desire to pay tribute to, and provoke debate on, the crucial role freelance journalists play in bringing news to the public, particularly from dangerous war zones."

Their photography exhibition includes a film that highlights the role of local fixers, drivers and translators. In it, an Iraqi fixer describes how he and a Dutch photographer were forced by two snipers to stay still with their hands up for an hour until a superior officer arrived.

"For this foreign man they can do nothing. He has rights, he's from the Netherlands, he has an embassy. Me, I'm an Iraqi, I am nothing," is how he describes the situation on camera.

War zone reporters – meet the panel

To help local and international freelancers, the War Zone Freelance Safety Network organises medical and safety training. For example, Alling and Greenway have been in Erbil, Northern Iraq in the past eight months covering the Mosul offensive and arranging medical training for local and international freelance journalists and fixers covering the war

Mosul Iraq photo by Osie Greenway Reporter Anne Alling (left) and photojournalist Andoni Lubaki (middle), both part of The War Zone Freelance Project, cover the same offensive by the Iraqi Federal Police into western Mosul in March 2017. (Photo: Osie Greenway)

While based in Jerusalem (2013-2015), Alling covered the 2014 Gaza War and the 2015 Israeli elections. In 2014, she became one of the first Danish journalists to cover the so-called Islamic State's (ISIL) invasion of Iraq as she reported on the Islamic militants' attack on Sinjar and Mosul, the Yazidi Genocide, and the following massive refugee influx to the Northern Kurdish Iraqi areas. She has also covered the struggle of youth and women's grassroots movements in post-Gadaffi Tripoli, Libya (2013) as well as the refugees' influx to Germany (2015).

Greenway started his freelance career in 2012 covering the Syrian refugee crisis spilling over the Jordanian border and the economic unrest in the country that was expressed in riots and protests. From Jordan he moved to Beirut, Lebanon and continued covering the plight of the Syrian refugees and sectarian clashes linked to the Syrian conflict in 2013-2014. In late 2014, he arrived in northern Iraq to cover the war erupting as the group known as ISIL stormed military bases and captured the city of Mosul from the Iraqi Army. There he stayed until the summer of 2015, documenting the war between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Islamic State group.

Mosul Iraq photo by Anne Alling Journalists including American photographer Osie Greenway (left) photograph civilians passing by Mosul University after fleeing their homes in neighbouring areas in east Mosul during heavy fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants battling for control of the city in January 2017. (Photo: Anne Alling)

Greenway is currently based in Iraq, covering the offensive to retake the city of Mosul. His work has been displayed in exhibitions in London, Paris, New York City, Brussels, Moscow, Berlin, Hamburg, Scotland, Tokyo, Denmark ,Vienna, Montpellier. Besides being a Frontline Freelance Register member and WZF founder, he is a RISC XII alumna. Greenway has been awarded the Prix De La Photographie Paris Gold Prize for Press War Photography and 1st Place in Public Choice Press War Photography. He also won the 2016 Lens Culture Portrait Awards Juror's Pick Award and was selected as a finalist for the 12th Days Japan International Photojournalism Awards.

In his native Afghanistan, BBC World Service correspondent Khamoosh has reported on suicide bombings and NATO offensives – and also on fashion shows, skiing in Bamiyan province on home-made skis and the Cartoon Film Festival. Khamoosh has reported from inside the Badam Bagh Women's Prison, and covered a project offering guitar lessons for street children. Educated at London's School of African and Oriental Studies, he speaks Pashto and Persian and worked for Afghanistan's 1TV network and Takweekly newspaper before he became a multimedia reporter for the BBC.


Watch this space for updates from the panel.