JINHA reporters: they attack us because we expose them


June 02 2015

AMED – With a recent increase in threats against reporters for JINHA, Turkey and Kurdistan's only all-women and women-oriented news agency, JINHA reporters say those threatening them are doing so because they fear the threat that women-oriented reporting poses to male power.

JINHA was founded in Diyarbakır, Turkey on International Working Women's Day (March 8) in 2012 with the goal of "writing without thinking about what men will say." It remains the only women-oriented news agency in the region. Recently, JINHA reporters have been subject to a range of threats. In April, a car constantly followed JINHA's visual production team as they traveled through the Anatolian provinces of Tokat, Sivas and Malatya to cover the elections campaign. On May 20, two men pulled a gun on JINHA's reporter in the city of Batman while she was waiting to meet with a news source. Four days later, an unknown man issued a death threat to JINHA reporter Beritan Canözer as she was walking home at night.

"When our reporters go on the beat, they are threatened both by police and by certain groups of men," said Mekiye Görenç, JINHA's editor. She pointed to the history of violence against journalists in Kurdistan in the 1990s, when dozens of journalists were assassinated. Mekiye said that the recent incidents were just the latest in a series of attacks on journalists in the region attempting to shed light on systematic violence. "They attack, because it makes them uncomfortable that we expose the domination of women."

Reporter Sarya Gözüoğlu says JINHA reporters are familiar with violence, harassment and threats for conducting women-oriented news. Sarya said that she wasn't intimidated by the attacks; rather, she said they were proof that JINHA's work was having an impact.

"We struggle against every attempt to distance women from society, to harass, rape and kill women," said Sarya. "For us, this doesn't stop at making news. Our lives are the news. We affect the state, the justice system, men, the family. From that perspective, we're getting a response in proportion to the effectiveness of our news.

"We're doing the right thing; they're the ones doing wrong. And we will defend ourselves with our cameras and our microphones," she said. "We will continue to stand strong against these attacks. They'll be the ones who have to retreat, not us."