Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right which if violated goes against the values of democracy. With every breath, we have something or the other going on in this world, but is everything being talked about openly? Ask the media persons to get an idea if they can really publish the truth behind a political news piece or are asked to shut by giving constant threats? The question is the same but the answer varies from country to country depending on the laws. Nezam Mahdawi, a Palestinian- American journalist and founder of Watan News, an independent Arab American news media corporation aims to ensure the freedom of the press and reveal the truth to everyone without any fear of pressure from local and international governments.
Watan News saw the light after the first Iraqi war in 1990 and its repercussions and to highlight other conflicts that continue to happen but are not covered. Born in Kuwait, Nezam decided to build Watan News post his immigration to the US where press freedom is guaranteed by laws.
Watan News keeps the Arab immigrants informed in the US by providing world-class content and is unbiased in its approach. It is best known for covering human rights issues that media outlets are unable to cover due to censorship issues. Watan News is one of a kind which represents all parties' perspectives and does not favour any particular political party. The newspaper comes in two copies per week, print and electronic with its website being updated round the clock.
The first publication of Watan News was published in Washington in March 1991 after its incorporation in the US. Later, the newspaper was moved to California and got turned into a weekly publication in 1994. It was only in 1995 that Watan News got distributed in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Texas, Washington, and throughout the United States. In 1996, Watan News showed its online presence with the launch of the first Arab news website to promote access to the Arab reader everywhere.
It is not a hidden fact that you face opposition and repercussions while bringing out the truth in front of everyone. So in 1998, the KSA blocked the site because it conveyed the news that their press did not dare to address. Further, the news website is still facing an electronic attack aimed at deactivating and blocking it. But, as you know the truth always prevails. Despite the bans, the website today attracts half a million views from across the globe. No boycott or opposition could
impact the identity and the mission of Watan news, but it only made it stronger and expand its outreach. In order to reach all Arabs, Watan News has also developed an alternative domain called watan.com.
The prospects of Watan News lie in prioritizing good governance in building a sustainable future. It also aims to be a strategically to all Arabs and foreigners within the next few years.