Mike Thomson

Mike Thomson

The Raqqa Diaries

Friday 31 March 2017

1 Hour


Oxford Martin School: Lecture Theatre



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Multi-award-winning BBC Radio 4 journalist Mike Thomson talks about the diaries of a young man who risked his life to tell the story of the brutal conditions that people are living under in Syria.

Thomson found a young man who was part of a small anti-IS activist group in the city of Raqqa where no-one is allowed to leave or to speak to western journalists. His diaries were written, encrypted and sent to a third country for translation before forming the basis of The Raqqa Diaries series of short broadcasts on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. The full diaries have now been turned into a book. In the diaries, 24-year-old Samer (a pseudonym) writes about the death of his father, his mother suffering serious injuries in an air strike, his own sentence to 40 lashes for speaking out against a beheading and his witnessing of a woman being stoned to death.

Thomson is a foreign affairs correspondent for Today. He has won many awards including four Amnesty International awards, four Foreign Press Association awards, and five Sony Academy awards.