Women's voice in fight against masculine media

  • women
  • 16:01 2 March 2024
  • |
AMED - Women journalists, who intervened against masculinity in the media 12 years ago with JINHA, institutionalized their organization with the Mezopotamya Women Journalists Association. Journalists Beritan Canözer and Roza Metîna stated that they continue their struggle to completely change the masculine mentality and language.
In an environment surrounded by the attacks of the male-dominated system, women are struggling to exist in all areas of life. The struggle and organization of woman journalists, who are the voices of women struggling with violence, oppression, harassment, rape, murder and intimidation policies, is gaining great importance today. Kurdish woman journalists, who set out to make news from a woman perspective in the media, made the first intervention in the masculine language with the Jin News Agency (JINHA), which they founded on March 8, 2012, with the motto "We write without thinking about what men will say." While women's organizations lost their voice, they were closed by the Decree Law published on October 29, 2016. However, women who did not give up the struggle continued their journey with the online newspaper Şujin. The determination to fight against its closure continued with JINNEWS, which started broadcasting in Kurdish, Turkish, English and Arabic on September 25, 2017.
The tradition of women's publishing has entered its 12th year with JINHA, Turkey's first women's news agency, founded by 10 women in Amed. The tradition on which JINHA is based goes back a long way. Kurdistan newspaper, which started publication in Cairo on April 22, 1898, was the first in the history of the Kurdish press and became a milestone for Kurdish women. Jîn Magazine, published in 1918 (as far as is known), 20 years after the Kurdistan newspaper, marked the beginning of a new period for women journalists. While Jîn Magazine, the publication of the Kurdish Women's Society, aimed to "create national consciousness among women", the magazine included articles on equality and Kurdish awareness.
While Kurdish women journalists published many publications in Kurdistan and the diaspora from 1918 to the 2000s, there were important developments in terms of women's publishing in the Free Press in the 2000s. JIN TV, which was founded on January 9, 2018 to visually reflect the voices of women, started its first test broadcast on March 8, 2018 and started normal broadcasting on June 30. By 2023, woman journalists added another achievement to their achievements and institutionalized their organization that developed after JINHA with the Mezopotamya Women Journalists Association (MKG) and established the association on October 7, the anniversary of the death of Gurbetelli Ersöz, the first woman Editor-in-Chief in the country. The association set out with the aim of advocating the rights of women journalists against oppression and violations, as well as providing workshops and training for professional development.
Beritan Canözer, who started journalism with JINHA and currently continues with JINNEWS, and Roza Metîna, Chair of the Mezopotamya Women Journalists Association, spoke about the importance of the struggle and organization in this field on the occasion of March 8.
Beritan Canözer
Stating that JINHA is an agency attributed to women, Canözer reminded that the agency was founded on March 8, an important day for women's resistance. Canözer said that they disturbed the understanding of men as journalists who conducted women-oriented reporting against the male-dominated language, and said: "It was an important privilege to bring the woman spirit and woman originality to a media that is especially governed by a male mind. JINHA's publishing language also affects the masculine language of the mainstream media.”
Canözer stated that they aim to make women, who are squeezed into "3rd page journalism", visible in every field. Continuing her speech by giving a few examples from the mainstream media language, Canözer said that the massacres of women were justified and legitimized with headlines such as "The husband who had a jealousy crisis spread terror, the cheater killed his wife, the woman wearing a short skirt was killed/raped by her husband, etc."
Canözer said: "While the individual is introduced with her name and surname in all media, we highlight the name of the individual. This is an important point, because the main reason for the massacres of women and murders committed in the name of honour is the assertion of the lineage to which the woman is 'affiliated'. We care about the individual, not the lineage. This decision also had an impact on other media, because we also expose news made in other media outlets. When a woman was murdered, while the media found many excuses for the murder such as 'jealousy crisis, economic reasons', we were doing the exact opposite and inevitably the news we made began to shape the news made by others. The male mentality cannot completely change itself, but we are leading the way for change."
Stating that they do not use definitions such as "wife" or "husband", Canözer said: "We use definitions such as 'the man she is married to' or 'the woman he is married to', not wife or husband. Because wife is a term that must have a full ideological basis; if there is no equality, there can be no question of being a 'wife'. That's why we discussed the concepts a lot, both within the agency and with women's associations and activists. As a result of these discussions, we paid great attention to the concepts while establishing the broadcast language of the agency."
Explaining that they face many problems in the field as woman journalists, Canözer said that sometimes they are subjected to violence and sometimes they are harassed. Canözer said: “As a Kurd and a journalist, we have faced a lot of situations, especially in this region. While trying to change a language and mentality, we also aimed to change an image. In the news we went to, instead of a press image consisting of men, we created a picture that included women. We were aware that we would experience many difficulties when we started. We were subjected to a lot of harassment in the field because we are women. While I was following a protest in Dağkapı, the police said to me, 'Knead dough at home, what's that camera for you?' This was the visible face of their mentality and a clear example of the situation we were trying to prove and expose. While they were beating, they were harassing and disturbing especially the woman reporters. We have experienced many things, such as male police cornering women, putting them on scorpions, driving them around the city for hours under the name of ‘detention’ and then releasing them back. They were saying to the Kurd woman journalists they detained, 'You are a beautiful woman, why are you wasting yourself here, why don't you do different jobs in a different place?'" 
Stating that they have created changes in the Free Press tradition to which they are affiliated, as well as in the mainstream media, Canözer said: “There are now more woman journalists in the field. So far, no mainstream media has reported the rape of a specialist sergeant. But JINHA was doing this despite threats and publication bans. We were called many times and faced threats such as 'remove that news, we know your address, we will come'. We even had friends who were followed to their homes for this reason and we had friends who changed their homes for this reason. We went through a lot of things like that.”
Pointing out that they continue the path they started as JINHA as JINNEWS, Canözer said: “We derive the strength of why we continue despite all the pressures from the pioneering women who have resisted for years. We will continue to write as part of this struggle. We hope that the coming period will be a period in which we will achieve gains for women. This will be a period when we, woman journalists, will report more on women's struggles and achievements instead of women's massacres."
MKG Chair Roza Metîna
MKG Chair Roza Metîna said that they established the Mezopotamya Women Journalists Platform and then the association during the State of Emergency (OHAL), where all institutions were closed and the voice of the opposition press was silenced. Metîna said: “Our first goal is for woman journalists to carry out their profession in a free environment. We carry out our work against the attacks and pressures journalists are subjected to. We report the rights violations we are subjected to."
Pointing out that journalists are exposed to multifaceted pressure due to their professional activities, Metîna reminded that 10 woman journalists were in prison as of January. Metîna said, “Again, in the same month, many woman journalists were tried. They were prevented from reporting and were threatened. Especially the pressures on Kurdish women journalists continue. There is pressure on their work. Imprisoned woman journalists will meet March 8 in prison."
Metîna said that the ruling media is manipulating the society and said: “They want to hide the truths. They want society to progress around their ideology. We can say that the AKP-MHP media exists through manipulation and arrests. Today, AKP-MHP arrests women and does not allow them to work freely. They prosecute and arrest woman journalists who make women's voices heard. However, despite all the pressure, we will continue to be in the fields. We will once again bring the March 8 events to the public with our cameras, convey the message of women and be the voice of prisoner woman journalists. Thus, the existing struggle will continue."
Pointing out that the establishment of MKG encouraged women journalists, Metîna underlined that the association has an important role in strengthening the work of women journalists. Metîna continued as follows: “We have organized workshops since our establishment and many women participated. Trainings and discussions on journalism were held. This gave great excitement to woman journalists. It became an area of struggle against the mentality that wants to hinder woman journalists. MKG is the continuation of the legacy of Gurbetelli Ersöz, Nujiyan Erhan and Deniz Fırat. In this sense, it is a place to claim the legacy of women resisters. Work continues within this framework and empowers women. From here we call on all woman journalists; As part of March 8, let's protect our journalistic rights and come together under the umbrella of MKG. Let's fight against the mentality that ignores the existence and identity of women. We will be in the streets on March 8 with the slogan 'Jin, Jîyan, Azadî' and together we will respond to the AKP-MHP attacks."
TOMORROW: Agricultural worker women who could not attend March 8
MA / Eylem Akdağ

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