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Florian Elabdi

Copenhagen, Denmark
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About Florian
If you need a fixer or journalist in Denmark - you need to go with the Flo. 

I'm a Danish journalist residing in Copenhagen. Since 2015, I've been reporting from Denmark, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America. 

I have reported for a wide range of international media such as The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera English, The Daily Beast, The New Humanitarian and others. 

I mainly write feature stories, but also direct documentaries and I've corresponded live for several TV and radio stations such as AlJazeera English, Good Morning Britain and BBC World News.

I regularly do fixing jobs and I've worked as a fixer/driver/interpreter for The Washington Post, Der Spiegel, Stern TV, TV5 Canada, France Télévisions and BBC in Denmark. 

I have a Master of Journalism from the University of Southern Denmark.

You can see my portfolio on my personal website: https://www.flolance.dk/internationalmedia.html
Arabic Danish English
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
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Denmark ends North Sea oil exploration and sets deadline for production phase-out

07 Apr 2023  |  washingtonpost.com
Denmark has announced the cessation of state-approved oil exploration in the North Sea, with a complete phase-out of extraction by 2050. This decision, aimed at supporting the EU's carbon-neutrality goal, has been met with mixed reactions from environmental groups and activists. While Greenpeace hailed it as a significant step, others, including Greta Thunberg, criticized the timeline for not being ambitious enough. Denmark's move is expected to result in a financial loss but is seen as a necessary step to reduce CO2 emissions. The country has been a major oil producer in the EU, and this decision marks a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, with expectations of job transitions in the industry. The Danish government remains confident that this will not jeopardize the nation's wealth, as investments in renewable energy, particularly wind power, are anticipated to create new jobs.

Europe Locks Down Borders as COVID-19 Pandemic Spreads

15 Mar 2023  |  The Daily Beast
The article discusses the reinstatement of border controls by Germany and other EU countries, signaling a potential end to free movement within the Schengen Area due to the COVID-19 pandemic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's call for a unified approach contrasts with the actions taken by the German government to limit movement. The situation in Denmark is highlighted, where the government has imposed severe restrictions and passed emergency laws that have raised concerns about the violation of democratic freedoms. Spain's political turmoil amidst the crisis is also covered, with the government's delayed response and the call for a national unity government. The article concludes with France's approach to the pandemic, including the closure of establishments and the continuation of municipal elections, despite the health crisis.

Europe Locks Down Borders and Rethinks Democracy As Coronavirus Spreads

15 Mar 2023  |  thedailybeast.com
European countries, including Germany, Denmark, and Spain, have reinstated border controls and implemented severe restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, challenging the free movement within the Schengen Area. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's call for a unified approach was contradicted by the need to disrupt infection chains, leading to partial border closures. Denmark has enacted the most severe restrictions since WWII, including the right to expropriate private property and enforce medical treatment. Spain's government, after internal disputes, declared a state of alert, centralizing control to manage the crisis. France, while closing non-essential public spaces, proceeded with municipal elections and has been criticized for insufficient testing. These measures reflect the tension between managing public health and maintaining democratic freedoms and economic stability.

In Coronavirus Lockdown, the Living Are Trapped With the Dead

15 Mar 2023  |  news.yahoo.com
The article discusses the reinstatement of border controls by Germany and other EU countries, which could signal the end of free movement within the Schengen Area. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's call for a unified approach contrasts with the actions taken by German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer to limit movement. The article also covers the situation in Denmark, where the government has implemented severe restrictions and emergency laws in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19. It highlights the political implications of these measures and the potential erosion of democratic freedoms. The situation in Spain is also examined, where the government's delayed response to the pandemic has led to a state of alert and political turmoil. The article concludes with observations on France's approach to the crisis, including the decision to proceed with municipal elections and the lack of widespread testing.

Cigarettes poison Brazilian farmers. We went out to meet them and the tobacco giant's Danish man

22 Feb 2023  |  danwatch.dk
In Brazil's tobacco capital, Santa Cruz Do Sul, Danish Philip Morris political chief Alexander Nepper promotes the company's shift away from cigarette sales. However, the tobacco cultivation process involves high pesticide use, some banned in the EU, causing health issues for farmers. Danwatch and Repórter Brasil's investigation in southern Brazil reveals extensive pesticide use, poor working conditions, and child labor. Despite Philip Morris' claims of providing education and safety equipment, many farmers do not use protective gear. The article also discusses the health risks of nicotine exposure and the challenges of enforcing safety standards. Philip Morris and British American Tobacco acknowledge the issues but emphasize their efforts to improve practices.

Ghosts of Moria: living in the ashes of Europe's largest migrant camp – documentary

30 Jan 2023  |  theguardian.com
The article discusses the plight of two Syrian friends, Ayham and Khalil, who remained on the Greek island of Lesbos after the infamous migrant camp was destroyed by fire in 2020. Avoiding police, they live in dire conditions, scavenging for scrap metal to sell at low prices in order to afford food. The story highlights their enduring friendship and shared memories of Aleppo, as they cope with their current situation and the bureaucratic delays that keep them in limbo. The piece sheds light on the human aspect of the refugee crisis, focusing on the resilience and dreams of individuals affected by the Syrian Civil War.

New Captain America Film Criticized for Alleged Romanticization of Israeli Aggression Against Palestinians

18 Sep 2022  |  danwatch.dk
Marvel's upcoming film 'Captain America: New World Order' has sparked criticism for featuring an Israeli Mossad agent named Sabra, played by Israeli actress Shira Haas. Palestinian voices, including Palestinian-Canadian lawyer Diana Buttu, argue that the character dehumanizes Palestinians and romanticizes Israeli military violence. The character Sabra, which predates the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, is seen as controversial due to its association with Israeli symbolism and the historical displacement of Palestinians. The film's announcement coincides with increased Israeli military operations in the West Bank and reports of Palestinian casualties, further fueling the controversy.

Commissioner: Parties want to change the law

29 Jun 2022  |  danwatch.dk
Danish political parties Alternativet and Enhedslisten are calling for legislative changes following Danwatch's revelations that the Danish Frogman Corps trained military units in Africa known for committing serious human rights abuses, including murder, torture, rape, and village burnings. The training missions in question took place between 2016 and 2020 in Mali and Cameroon. Despite knowledge of these abuses, the Danish Defense Ministry allowed the training to continue. There is currently no Danish law prohibiting the training of military units that violate human rights, contrasting with U.S. laws established in 1997. Enhedslisten is drafting a proposal to prevent such training, and Alternativet supports greater involvement of human rights organizations in training missions. The issue has gained relevance as Denmark can now participate in EU military training missions in Africa after a majority voted to abolish the defense opt-out.

Danish Frogman Corps Trained Civil War Troops Known to Be Deployed Against Own Population

15 Jun 2022  |  danwatch.dk
Danwatch has revealed that the Danish Frogman Corps trained 24 soldiers in Cameroon who were later deployed against their own population in Mamfé, despite the Danish Defence being aware of potential civilian casualties. Denmark continued its training mission in March 2018, three months after the battles around Mamfé, where Danish-trained special forces participated and the civilian population was subjected to torture and arbitrary executions by the Cameroonian army, according to Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch and experts have expressed concern over Denmark's training of civil war troops, and a Cameroonian human rights advocate believes Denmark is complicit in crimes committed during the conflict. The Danish Defence states it cannot control other nations' forces and did not witness human rights violations during training. However, the Danish Defence was informed of the deployment of COPALCO soldiers in Mamfé and a leader's indifference to civilian casualties. Despite this, Denmark's training of other Cameroonian special forces continued in 2018, shifting focus from Boko Haram in the north to English-speaking separatists in the west. The Cameroonian army's operations in Mamfé have been marked by civilian executions and extensive torture, with the first mass displacement of civilians in the conflict occurring there. The Danish Frogman Corps trained COPALCO in surface swimming and the use of AK-47 and AK-74 rifles, with limited instruction on human rights. The Danish Defence increased its focus on human rights in training after concerning statements from COPALCO leaders. Human Rights Watch, experts, and Cameroonian human rights advocates criticize Denmark's training of soldiers for the civil war, with Denmark being called complicit in the army's crimes. The civil war in Cameroon continues into its fifth year, with recent government soldier killings in Missong and the burning of Mamfé's central hospital, allegedly by separatists.

Despite killings, rapes, and torture: Frogmen trained brutal special force in Cameroon

30 May 2022  |  danwatch.dk
Danish Frogman Corps trained soldiers from the Cameroonian special forces unit Bataillon d’Intervention Rapide (BIR), which is notorious for human rights abuses such as killings, rapes, and torture. The training, which began in March 2016 and continued until at least 2017, has been criticized by Human Rights Watch and other experts. Despite public reports of BIR's violations, Denmark's Defense chose to train the unit multiple times. The training was part of efforts to combat piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and Boko Haram in northern Cameroon. However, the BIR operates under direct orders from Cameroon's authoritarian president, Paul Biya, and has been implicated in ongoing human rights violations, including in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

BWSC sues Lebanon: 'They are trying to get money out of a country on the brink of bankruptcy'

20 May 2022  |  danwatch.dk
Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor (BWSC) is suing the Lebanese government for over 900 million Danish kroner in compensation for delayed payments related to the construction of two power plants. Lebanon, facing one of the worst economic crises in 200 years, defaulted on its debt for the first time in March. Experts and ethicists argue that while BWSC may be legally justified, the lawsuit poses a moral dilemma given Lebanon's dire financial situation. The Lebanese government, known for corruption, may not have the resources to pay, and the funds could be better used to support the country's poorest citizens.

Agreements leaked: Generous gifts concern experts

18 Dec 2021  |  danwatch.dk
Leaked agreements between the Danish-owned Hybrid Power System Group (HPSG) and the government of Suriname have raised concerns among experts about potential corruption. The deals, which include the construction of the Suriname Green Energy Park, were revealed to be confidential and include generous gifts such as a knowledge center, hydrogen buses, and a charity fund. Experts from organizations like Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke and academics have expressed worries about the lack of transparency and the ease with which HPSG could secure investments and potentially close the company without significant repercussions for Suriname.

The camp: Children are the biggest victims

10 Sep 2021  |  danwatch.dk
Abdullah Musa, a Syrian refugee, and his family face ongoing danger in the Mavrovouni camp on Lesbos, known as Moria 2.0, where ethnic tensions and poor conditions persist. A year after the Moria camp fire left 13,000 refugees homeless, the EU and several European countries took action, but issues like lack of schooling, restricted access, and mental health crises among children remain. Abdullah's daughter Mariam suffers from trauma after being hit by a tear gas canister. Læger uden Grænser, critical of the camp's conditions, provides treatment outside the camp. The camp's location on a former military shooting range raises concerns about toxic soil and dangerous wildlife.

After the Fall of Herat: Journalists Fear for Their Lives

13 Aug 2021  |  danwatch.dk
Following the Taliban's takeover of Herat, Afghanistan, journalists like Ali Osman, who has worked for European media, fear for their safety. The Taliban's presence is pervasive, and the future for journalists remains uncertain. The U.S. and UK have made plans to evacuate journalists, but Danish media have not issued a joint appeal, leaving Afghan journalists out of a political agreement for evacuation. Kabul remains a topic of concern for journalists' safety, with media outlets ceasing operations in Taliban-controlled areas. The Afghan government is also tightening its grip on the press. International Media Support is working to evacuate journalists to Kabul, but the situation is dire, with neighboring countries closing borders and visas being unattainable. Some journalists, including Osman, wish to leave but face financial and logistical challenges.

International oil companies created piracy problem that Denmark wants to combat militarily

31 Jul 2021  |  danwatch.dk
Denmark is preparing to send a military contribution to combat piracy in the Guinea Gulf, prompted by attacks on Danish ships and the advocacy of the Danish Shipping organization. The mission, not in collaboration with NATO, UN, or EU, is historic for Denmark. The piracy issue is linked to environmental destruction by international oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell in the Niger Delta, which has led to local impoverishment and militancy. Experts argue that Denmark's militarized approach is short-sighted and won't solve the underlying issues. The UNODC report highlights the complexity of piracy, driven by both desperation and criminal opportunism. Danish Shipping emphasizes the mission's focus on seafarer safety, while the political and economic roots of piracy remain unaddressed by Denmark's government.

Summer Reading: New Danish Book Takes You to the Uprising in Myanmar

21 Jul 2021  |  danwatch.dk
Eva-Marie Møller's new Danish book 'Oprør i Myanmar – Generation Z og generalerne' narrates the story of the uprising in Myanmar following the military coup, focusing on the experiences of six young individuals who serve as her correspondents. The book provides insights into the early stages of the protest movement, the emotional toll on the youth, and the eventual shift from hope to resignation. Møller's own history with Myanmar, including a dangerous interview with Aung San Suu Kyi in 1999, is recounted. The latter half of the book delves into Myanmar's colonial history, the military's internal workings, and the ethnic conflicts that have led to the world's longest ongoing civil war. It also touches on the current situation, with the military suppressing demonstrations and the NLD setting up a shadow government to unite ethnic groups against the junta.

Denmark welcomed thousands of refugees as the war took hold. Now it’s urging many to return to ‘safe’ areas.

20 Apr 2021  |  aljazeera.com
Denmark is the first European country to declare Damascus and Rif Damascus in Syria as 'safe' areas, prompting the reassessment of temporary residence permits for around 500 Syrian refugees. This decision has sparked fear and uncertainty among those affected, including 19-year-old Sageda Salem. The Danish Refugee Appeals Board's assessment has been criticized domestically and internationally, with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and organizations like UNHCR and the EU condemning any forced repatriation. Experts have also disputed the Danish Immigration Service's report that led to this policy. While other countries acknowledge improved conditions in Damascus, none have deemed it safe for return. Denmark cannot forcibly repatriate refugees, leading to concerns about the conditions in 'departure centres' for those who refuse to leave.

I directed this web doc for The Guardian in Fallujah

The camp burned down. I traveled there and found my own ghost

23 Feb 2021  |  zetland.dk
Journalist Florian Elabdi visited the burned-down Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos and encountered a group of men fleeing the law. The camp, once Europe's largest refugee camp, was destroyed by fire in September 2020, leaving 12,700 refugees homeless. Elabdi's narrative focuses on Khalil Amuri, a 28-year-old man from the Amur tribe, who shares a strikingly similar background with the journalist. Khalil's life story is one of survival, from selling ice cream in Aleppo to collecting metal in the ruins of Moria to support his family. Despite the hardships, Khalil dreams of a future where he can work in a restaurant and live a normal life. The article also touches on the lives of other men in the camp, each with their own harrowing stories of war and escape. Khalil eventually receives a final rejection for asylum in Greece but retains hope as he moves to Athens to appeal the decision.

Surviving in the ruins of Moria

29 Dec 2020  |  Al Jazeera
The article covers the aftermath of the Moria refugee camp fire on the Greek island of Lesbos, which left over 12,000 refugees and migrants homeless. Greek authorities established a new temporary camp in Kara Tepe, while some EU countries agreed to relocate vulnerable individuals. However, many former Moria residents went missing, with some avoiding the new camp to live off the radar. The article focuses on the stories of several refugees who are scavenging for metal in the ruins to survive. It highlights the harsh living conditions, the struggle for asylum, and the personal tragedies faced by individuals such as Khalil Amuri, a Syrian refugee. The narrative also touches on the broader issues of European immigration policy and the challenges faced by refugees in finding safety and rebuilding their lives.

News story in Denmark for WP

Algeria's youth hesitated during the Arab Spring. Now the next generation has taken over

01 Nov 2019  |  information.dk
Algeria's youth, initially hesitant during the Arab Spring, are now actively demanding political change. Despite the ousting of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after 20 years in power and promises of new elections, hundreds of thousands continue to protest for the complete removal of the military regime. The movement seeks a transition to a democratic future, free from the corruption and stagnation that have characterized Algerian society. The protests include a diverse cross-section of society and have already achieved significant changes, such as the prosecution of key figures within Bouteflika's inner circle. However, the military, particularly Vice Defense Minister Ahmed Gaïd Saleh, remains resistant, and the government has responded with repression. Despite skepticism from some citizens and the uncertain future, the protest movement has fundamentally altered the national conversation around politics and continues to push for a democratic transition.

‘Anti-immigrant left’ wins election as Danes reject far-right

06 Jun 2019  |  aljazeera.com
Mette Frederiksen of the Social Democrats is poised to become Denmark's youngest prime minister after the left-wing 'red bloc' won the general election, defeating the right-wing 'blue bloc'. The election was marked by a focus on climate change, welfare, and immigration. The Danish People's Party faced significant losses, while the anti-Islam party Hard Line failed to enter Parliament. The election also saw a shift in minority voter turnout, with increased participation from immigrant communities. Analysts attribute this to the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment and far-right parties. Frederiksen will need to negotiate with other left-wing parties to form a government, which may be challenging due to differing views on immigration and minority policies.

Far-right Rasmus Paludan, who holds stunts desecrating Islam’s holy book, is expected to win seats in coming vote.

16 May 2019  |  aljazeera.com
Rasmus Paludan, a far-right Danish politician known for Quran-burning demonstrations, is expected to win seats in Denmark's upcoming general election. His party, Hard Line, along with another far-right party, The New Right, could potentially harm the re-election chances of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen. Paludan's actions have sparked counterprotests and concerns about the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment. Despite his controversial stances and a recent racism conviction, Paludan has gained popularity, particularly among young people. His activities and the broader shift to the right in Danish politics have led to stricter measures against Muslims, including a ban on the full-face veil and policies targeting residents in poorer districts. Paludan's party is projected to secure six seats in parliament, while The New Right could gain five seats.


17 Dec 2018  |  thedailybeast.com
The article discusses Russia's increasing influence in the Central African Republic (CAR), highlighting the role of Russian national security adviser Valery Zakharov. Zakharov, a seasoned diplomat with experience from the Chechen wars, has been instrumental in Russia's diplomatic and military engagement in CAR, a country rich in natural resources but plagued by conflict. Despite accusations of underhanded dealings, including the deployment of Russian mercenaries and the murder of journalists investigating them, Zakharov denies a Russian takeover, framing the engagement as a rekindling of Soviet-era relationships. The article also touches on the international response, particularly from France and the United States, to Russia's actions in CAR. It notes Russia's broader push into Africa, with arms deals and military cooperation across the continent, and the strategic positioning of CAR as a gateway to other regions in Africa.

CAR’s culture of impunity

28 Nov 2018  |  The New Humanitarian
The article discusses the ongoing civil war in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the pervasive culture of impunity that has allowed war criminals to evade justice. It highlights the story of Claire, a victim of brutal rape by anti-balaka militiamen, and the broader context of war crimes committed during the conflict. The article covers the recent extradition of militia commander Alfred 'Rambo' Yekatom to the International Criminal Court and the inauguration of the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in Bangui, which aims to prosecute war crimes and genocide. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed optimism about the potential of the SCC to end impunity. The Catholic Church’s Justice and Peace Commission, with support from Advocates Sans Frontières, has established 'Listening Centres' to encourage victims to come forward. Despite the challenges of security and outreach, there is hope that the SCC will bring justice to victims like Claire and Regina Nicole Yamalet, whose brother was killed by Chadian peacekeepers.

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