BEIRUT: Typing in Diana Moukalled on YouTube, one would end up with channels featuring documentaries about the Polisario revolt or Afghanistan under the Taliban. If none of those appear then the search engine would most definitely display stories like: the Berbers of Algeria, Ansar Al Islam in Kurdistan, or Against Me, a documentary that voices women’s rights.
These visual representations of misfortunes are among other works that Moukalled has put forward during her lifetime. Her documentaries share a distinctive feature: illustrating minorities’ struggles in the Arab World and the region. Through this whole portfolio of work, Moukalled exclusively identifies herself as a “journalist, women advocate, and an activist.”
After living most of her life in Saudi Arabia, Moukalled returned with her family to Lebanon in 1986.
“During that time, the civil war going on and so I had to postpone my university registration,” Moukalled told Annahar. Eventually, Moukalled signed up for a degree in journalism at the Lebanese University and was accepted to follow that course of study.
“My idea of journalism was limited to going on TV and reporting events,” Moukalled said. “However, as I got to work in the field, I discovered the essence of journalism and I grew fonder of my work.”
To Moukalled, journalism is all about shedding light on social issues, telling human stories, and focusing on the marginalized.
“Journalism is revealing personal stories, and not just covering news and events. Of course, the latter is important but the previous exceeds it in many ways with its significance,” Moukalled said. “With time I discovered my passion for making short films, reports and documentaries. I love telling people’s stories through visuals.”
After the civil war, Moukalled started her career in one of the very few stations available locally. She worked in New TV in 1991. Almost two years later, she landed an opportunity in Future TV during its launching period in 1993. From there, Moukalled marked the beginning of her path as a war journalist.
“In 1993, I covered Israel’s attacks on Lebanon and again in 1996. I then covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq,” said Moukalled. “I used to go to hot territories from Shishan to Yemen and Algeria.”
“I didn’t choose to be a war correspondent, I felt it was part of my duty as a journalist to be one,” she continued. “I was young, and I was emotionally driven to be present at the edge of events and cover the war along with filming reports about the human casualties.”
Back then Moukalled learned that war isn’t about the attacks and outbreaks but the people hiding in the basements trying to survive.
From covering war to covering people living through the war, Moukalled started advocating for minorities and women. She made it her duty to cover topics such as Talban’s ban of education for women, and Jordan’s honor crimes. Her work also touched upon the personal status law and a series on women's faces being disfigured to reclaim "honor."
In 1999 Moukalled started her own TV show on Future TV. Al Ein Al Mojarrada also known as the Naked Eye. The program was dedicated to exhibiting human casualties and stories.
After her program stopped running on Future TV, Moukalled started focusing her work on local political stories.
“I produced works on Samir Kassir’s murder along with a documentary about Basel Flayhan and a number of other assassinations,” she explained.
Fast-forward to 2018, Moukalled is the web editor of Future TV and one of the three co-founders of Daraj, a news site based in Beirut that addresses the Arab public. Her role in Daraj is networking, training students, and contributing to the reports produced by the site.
Moukalled refuses to be associated with any political party as the former is considered a “threat to a journalist’s credibility.” Although she is open about her opinions and views, Moukalled thinks personal opinion and biases should not crossover to a journalist’s professional life.
A journalist, a women advocate, and an activist; Moukalled passion for all these things defines a career which will continue to take her many places – offering a front seat to history in order to file reports that are up close and personal. Thus allowing viewers to give witness to the human side of events.
Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.firstname.lastname@example.org
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