What is Be Heard?
Be Heard is an online portal that provides Syrian civilian actors with step-by-step guidance on how to make their voices heard – safely and effectively. Be Heard is mobile-first, built on SalamaTech’s multi-year experience helping Syrian activists stay safe online. Our mission is to empower Syrian non-violent voices to Be Heard through the noise of conflict.
Why Be Heard?
The Syrian conflict is the first protracted war to be fought on and through the internet. All actors use the internet to organize, plan, and share information; some use it to document human rights abuses and bear witness; others use it to propagandize, collect intelligence, sow fear, and win followers.
Currently, the Syrian social media space is dominated by the voices of militant actors. Social media is used as a weapon of war. By contrast, the voices of Syrian non-violent actors have been drowned out by the noise of violence and extremism. To the outside world, the concept of Syrian civil society has been largely reduced to that of powerless “refugees.”
But Syrian non-violent citizens – who believe in peace, in human rights, in justice – are still there, working hard on the ground and in their places of refuge for a better future. It is these courageous men and women – both inside and outside Syria – that Be Heard aims to empower. Be Heard provides easy-to-use guidance and resources on how to communicate effectively online, while staying safe.
The SalamaTech project is using the Be Heard platform to support our network of trainers inside Syria, who provide in situ assistance to moderate Syrian groups who are trapped inside Syrian enclaves.
What is SalamaTech?
Since 2012, SalamaTech has helped millions of Syrian non-violent citizens stay safe online. We provide customized, easy-to-use digital safety guidance, tools, training, emergency support, real-time remediation and one-on-one technical assistance. As the conflict has intensified and many Syrians are now trapped inside Syria, we have nurtured a network of Information Freedom Champions inside Syria, who provide direct assistance, training and support to vulnerable groups and individuals who cannot leave their enclaves for “external” trainings and assistance.
SalamaTech also provides emergency technical support to Syrian civil society actors:
Deactivating accounts of those arrested. When an activist is arrested, we work to eliminate their online accounts quickly, to protect their broader networks and family members from identification and harm.
Restoring disabled accounts. When important online accounts have been hacked or disabled, often by savvy adversaries as part of Syria’s information war, we work to have these online accounts – and the critical information resources they contain – restored.
Building capacity through real-time remediation and institutional audits. Our Cyber SAR programme (Cyber Security Audit and Real-time Remediation), builds the capacities of small civil society organizations, by identifying their critical online vulnerabilities, providing real-time remediation of core digital safety problems, and providing ongoing support and follow-up penetration testing to ensure that the organization’s digital safety posture has been sustainably improved.
Be Heard is the latest innovation of the SalamaTech project. It has been designed in direct response to needs assessments and our beneficiaries’ requests from across Syria.
SalamaTech is a SecDev Foundation initiative.
The SecDev Foundation
The SecDev Foundation is a Canadian-based think-do tank that works at the cross-roads of security, development and new technology. We believe that information can change the world. We see that new technologies can empower people out of conflict, insecurity and oppression. Our mission is to understand how, and then help that change happen. The Foundation is a registered not-for-profit organization.