Obadah al-Kaddri

Obadah al-Kaddri TIME 100
Illustration by Michael Hoeweler for TIME

A truth teller on the Syrian airwaves

Moderates are under attack in Syria. They’ve been targets of both the Syrian government and hard-line Islamist fighters.

The Syrian voices calling for democracy and human rights have been edged out on the ground — but not on the airwaves, as Obadah al-Kaddri has shown. His radio station, al-Watan, is part of a parallel press free of censorship. His journalists inside Syria risk death to tell their stories. In doing so, they’ve helped reshape a media space that was long limited to the ruling Baath Party line.

There are now more than 200 media startups in Syria — a flowering of self-expression, but also of competing narratives, with each camp framing the news within its version of reality.

In al-Kaddri’s Syria, the fiercest battles are being fought over the truth.

Setrakian is a co-founder of Syria Deeply, a news website covering the war in Syria

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