At Blottr, we depend on the the bravery of citizen journalists around the world. Whether they capture and report on police incidents in London or they report from some of the most dangerous places in the world, the role of the citizen journalist in providing information on events is paramount for newsgathering.
Since the beginning of the uprising in Syria video captured from citizens has been one of the main sources of information for news reporting. This became more apparent when the regime offensive on Homs intensified three weeks ago. Citizen journalists in Homs have largely contributed in providing the media and therefore the world with information to ensure the international community knew about the barbaric attacks orchestrated by the Syrian regime.
One of them, Rami Al-Sayed, also known as "Syria Pioneer" was killed last night in the offensive on Homs which left 45 civilians dead. Human Rights activists say Rami was killed when a shell hit the building from where he was filming. Rami was 27 years old and a father to a little girl called Maryam. She is only one-and-a-half years old.
Rami was among the first citizens to volunteer to photograph and film demonstrations, as well as the violence and military attacks by Presidents Assad's forces on opposition figures. Many of his videos appeared on Blottr as we covered the crisis in Syria. But it was this brave reporting that made Rami a target for the government. It was widely known that Rami was subjected to several assassination attempts. "Five days ago, the regime's army became aware of his live broadcast and his location, and targeted him with artillery shells. He was wounded by shrapnel but survived. Yesterday Rami suffered another round of shelling and was hit by shrapnel while helping a family to seek shelter in a safer neighbourhood. Activists were unable to remove him from the neighbourhood to a safer location due to the nonstop shelling. He bled to death at the local field hospital", activists reported.
Alsayeed used Bambuser to report on the attack in Homs. His livestream reporting was the only way the media could get a true picture of what was happening in Syria.
"Babaamr is facing a genocide right now. I will never forgive you for your silence. You all have just give us your words but we need actions. However our hearts will always be with those who risk their life for our freedom. I know what we need! We need campaigns everywhere inside Syria and outside Syria, and now we need all people in front of all embassies all over the world. In a few hours there will be NO place called BabaAmr and I expect this will be my last message and no one will forgive you who talked but didn't act", said Rami, in one of his last messages.
We all know the growing threats to journalists and activists in war zones, and Rami's death shows the reality of the courage of those willing to expose the truth.
Many activists and journalists around the world have expressed their sadness regarding Rami Ahmad Alsayeed's death.
Mona Eltahawy, columnist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues, said on Twitter "Some of the fiercest warriors in our revolutions are the citizen journalists who fight silence with cameras.RIP Rami al-Sayyed".
Eva Voors, Head of Communications at Bambuser.com tweeted "We mourn Rami Ahmad Alsayeed / Syriapioneer. He brought out strong and LIVE videos from Homs".
Rami's youtube channel, which contains videos from the neighbourhood: http://www.youtube.com/user/syriapioneer?feature=watch
His account on the live broadcast website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTwIEFqejB4&feature=youtu.be
Maryam, the daughter of Rami: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTwIEFqejB4&feature=youtu.be