One of Islamic State’s most dangerous weapons is their propaganda campaign, being spread via the internet, social media, and ISIL’s online propaganda magazine, "Dabiq". This propaganda is aimed at establishing the legitimacy of Islamic State’s caliphate, and perhaps more insidiously, to recruit like-minded jihadists to their cause. However, there are underground journalists that are publishing their own works to counter ISIL’s claims, spreading the truth about what is going on inside the caliphate.
One of these groups, called "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently" (RBSS), was founded by six Syrian students in the city of Raqqa, after ISIL’s invasion of the city forced them from their homes. Their members conduct a guerrilla journalist campaign to counter ISIL’s own propaganda machine, shooting videos and reporting on events in occupied Raqqa. RBSS recently won the 2015 CPJ International Press Freedom Award for the group’s efforts. The group now has 25 members, operating primarily in Syria and Turkey.
"When we started, we wanted to tell Raqqa people that ISIS was lying to you," explains RBSS member Abu Mohammed. Mohammed was forced to flee to Germany, after being warned that ISIL agents were looking for him while he was seeking refuge in Turkey. "And we wanted to tell Syrians that we could rise up against ISIS just as we did against the Syrian regime."
RBSS spokesperson, and Raqqa correspondent Abu Ibrahim Alraqqawi says their efforts are proving to be a success, and they are frustrating ISIL’s efforts to quash the truth. "Before the RBSS launch, when someone wanted to Google Raqqa they’d find results promoting the Islamic State. Now when you Google Raqqa you get news reports on ISIS violations."