Syria flag outside embassy

The Syrian embassy in London, where the protest will take place

Credit: Clive Gee/PA
A freelance journalist in the UK is organising a protest outside the Syrian embassy in London this weekend, after reports emerged last week that 108 people were killed in Houla, including 49 children, on Friday 25 May.

Journalist Louise Tickle, who writes about education and social affairs, said she was moved to take action to demonstrate "revulsion" at all the deaths that have occurred over the past year, including the killing of 108 people in Houla last month.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, Tickle added that the risks being taking by some journalists to get into Syria and try to tell the stories of those in the country have ignited "almost more of a duty to do something here".

"This is very particularly dangerous and amongst the most dangerous situations any journalist will ever go into, it feels like there is more of a duty to take note."

Tickle also spoke about the difficulty often faced by journalists when it comes to airing views publicly.

"When you're a journalist you're not really there to stamp your view, that's what columnists do. That's a very particular job and so it's almost more difficult when you're a journalist because you're there to ask questions and examine people and to find out what they're interested in and what their politics are.

"So taking a stand feels quite hard for me as a journalist, even though there are things I do believe very strongly.

"There's also the sense, I think, as a journalist that you're meant to kind of rise above it. Lots of journalists are very cynical, very world-weary, very 'oh we take the greater view, the overall view', and we try to not put ourselves in any particular place, because then it makes it harder for us to do our job."

But she said it came to the point where she felt she had to take some form of action, "or I would always have been ashamed of myself".

Tickle is calling on others to join her and her family on Sunday from 12pm to 2pm, particularly other families and those "who have not necessarily felt it easy to be political".

"There's a sense we don't know enough, we don't have a right that if you don't know the detail, how can you in an informed way protest?"

But she said the message of the protest, "stop killing children", is an "accessible way for people to show their revulsion".

She added her experience as a journalist has helped "enormously", as has the support of the freelance journalist community, such as on the Journobiz forum.

"Freelance journalists who I have known on there for many years have been incredibly helpful and have literally taken responsibility for different points of the campaign, so people who have access to and know who to pitch and they know how to pitch, and they know what a press release needs to say, and they know how to angle it.

"All of this has been incredibly helpful, because I simply couldn't do it on my own. I am still sitting here trying to earn a living at the same time as organising what has turned into about 300 people who will be fetching up at the Syrian embassy hopefully."
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