[Published here July 8, 2021]
Data rights groups are warning of privacy violations and risks to vulnerable communities after Abu Dhabi deployed scanners at border crossings, malls and other public locations that could detect COVID-19 in seconds.
[Published here July 5, 2021]
No strangers to temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit), Iraqis are adept at finding ways to stay cool in summer. But a spate of recent power cuts has exposed a deep divide between the heatwave haves and have-nots.
[Published here on June 25, 2021]
BEIRUT, June 25 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Syrian refugee girls are increasingly at risk of child marriage due to a surge in pandemic-linked poverty, legal loopholes and long-term displacement in countries across the Middle East and North Africa, charity Save the Children said on Friday.
[Published here June 21, 2021]
BEIRUT, June 21 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – After driving for days on the rough roads of southern Yemen, Radwan Hizam finally reached the idyllic spot where he hoped his bees could feed from flowering Sidr trees to produce their world-renowned honey. But he was too late.
On June 17, 2021, I had the privilege of joining officials and experts to discuss politically-sanctioned corruption in Iraq, on a panel hosted by Chatham House.
The full discussion can be watched here.
On June 17, my colleague Avi Asher-Schapiro and I joined Paris Marx on his Tech Won’t Save Us podcast to discuss our investigation into Facebook’s blindspot when it comes to Arabic-language gay conversion therapy content.
Listen to the full episode on Google Podcasts, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.
I was glad to speak to the BBC World Service about how Facebook has failed to apply its ban on LGBT+ conversion therapy content to Arabic-language posts.
Here’s the full interview, with my comments at 19:20.
[Published here June 3, 2021]
BEIRUT, June 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – With perfect prose, sizzling sarcasm and a host of anonymous accounts, Malcolm Bidali has waged a one-man social media campaign to improve working conditions for migrant labourers in Qatar for nearly a year.
“It kind of makes me feel like Batman or Superman. You can say the things you want to say, with your own voice and your own style,” said Bidali, 28, speaking to the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Doha.
[Produced alongside Thomson Reuters Foundation’s digital correspondent Avi Asher-Schapiro and published here on June 3, 2021]
When he was growing up in a small Egyptian town outside Cairo, Omar began feeling sexually attracted to other men. Too afraid to talk to family or friends, he turned to Facebook for help, shielding his identity with a false name.
Scouring social media for information and advice is a common recourse for young men and women who think they may be gay and live in socially conservative Arab societies.
But it can lead them to therapists, spiritual leaders and influencers promising to “cure the affliction” of homosexuality through so-called conversion therapy – practices that aim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
[Published here June 1, 2021]
“Money makes the world go round” is a well-known saying. In Iraq, however, it is “dirty money”. Even after more than a year living in Baghdad, I still got surprised by how much of public life in the war-weary country relied on the circulation of illicit funds – and how formalised this corruption had become.