Shireen: Risking Life to Expose Truth

Shireen al-Far by Malak Hasan

Shireen al-Far by Malak Hasan

He traced her and got her personal phone number. Thinking that she could be easily intimidated by his harsh, masculine voice, he threatened her so she would stop doing what she believes in most– exposing the truth.

Shireen al-Far, 25, a journalist from Ramallah wants to address the crippling effects of the Israeli occupation in Palestine.  As a student, she had to spend hours each day passing through Qalandia, the largest checkpoint in the West Bank, just to get to school. Rather than discourage her, the experience inspired to pursue journalism.

Shireen started her career reporting for local news agencies in Ramallah. When her editor invited her to participate in a training on investigative journalism, she was hesitant at first, questioning her abilities, but her desire to report the truth won out.

Shireen’s first investigative report examined the realities of Palestinian women working in Israeli settlements, where Palestinians are often treated poorly and not compensated fairly for their work.  Traveling to the city of Jericho on the borders with Jordan, Shireen was determined to expose the unethical contractors exploiting vulnerable workers. However, she didn’t expect to become their next target. When Shireen received a threatening phone call, she wanted to give up, but she was determined to follow the story to the end in spite of the dangers.  She persevered with her story, the contractors were exposed and prosecuted by the government.

Knowing that her words and courage have helped create change, Shireen now identifies herself as an investigative journalist and enjoys her work despite the high risk. She knows that the change could be minute, but if journalists have strong beliefs, they will be able to create a better world.

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