"Berlin has become a new home for me."
"It’s not every day you get the chance to spend four summer months in Berlin and learn from people who are experts in global press freedom. I was given this opportunity when RSF Germany invited me and four other journalists from all over the world to take part in a digital security training programme for media professionals.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that this experience changed my life. Through the programme I got to live outside Lebanon for the first time in my life and met many journalists, activists and campaigners for freedom of expression within a short time. I also experienced life in Europe, and specifically in Berlin, from the perspective of a resident.
This residency offered me many opportunities: I experienced the beauty and culture of Berlin, explored its parks and nightlife, took a critical look at its policies, learned about Berlin’s moving history, took part in the Christopher Street Day festivities, experienced the city’s unpredictable weather and met people from all over the world who, like me, came to Berlin to immerse themselves in the city. All these are things that have changed me and reaffirmed my greatest hope as a writer and activist in Beirut: that freedom is not impossible. Freedom can be achieved and that’s a wonderful thing. When I think of Berlin now, I think of it as a new home. A place where I feel safe and which I hope to return to very soon. I am returning to Lebanon with hope, new knowledge and skills that are vital for my work, and also new friendships. I will always be grateful for the generous and friendly support that RSF Germany and the Berlin Senate offered to me and the other fellows on the programme. Thank you, Berlin. See you soon! "
Jonathan Dagher is a young author from Lebanon. He took part in RSF Germany’s Berlin Scholarship Programme for four months.
In Lebanon Dagher works for Megaphone, an independent online platform that edits and analyses domestic news stories. Politics, human rights and activism are his main areas of interest.
He originally studied something entirely different from journalism – he earned a degree in mechanical engineering at the American University of Beirut, with English Literature as his secondary subject. After his studies his passion for politics and writing in combination with his interest in new media and technologies led him to embark on a career as a web content writer. In addition to his writing projects he also works as a script writer and voice-over artist for Megaphone.
Before he began working for Megaphone Dagher gained experience as a content manager at radio broadcaster Light FM Lebanon. He also managed the production of online courses and reports on the publishing sector at Bookwitty, before receiving a degree in Digital Marketing from the "Ecole Superieure des Affaires" in Beirut. He was the communications representative for the Hammana Artist House, a multidisciplinary art residency space in Lebanon. One of his many works is the report: "Online Privacy Threats Against Women and the LGBTQ+ Communities in Libanon", which he researched and wrote for the media advocacy and development organisation SMEX. (Current as of: 05.08.2019)