It has been exactly 124 years since the first Kurdish newspaper was published in Cairo, Egypt by renowned literary figure Mikdad Midhad Badirkhan, who was in exile at the time. April 22nd is celebrated as ‘Kurdish Journalism Day’ worldwide.
The newspaper, titled ‘Kurdistan’, came out every two weeks. After issue 31, its publishing life ended due to pressure from the Ottomans.
Tayip Temel, a People’s Democratic Party MP and the vice co-chairperson responsible for the Press and Propaganda Commission released a written statement, celebrating Kurdish Journalism Day:
“With a breathless struggle waged and heavy prices paid, the Kurdish press and the tradition of free press have maintained their existence in the face of all of the attacks, and they are still playing a crucial role in illuminating society and making the voice of the people heard,” said the MP.
“Despite the conditions of repression and violence, Kurdish journalism travels its own path, never making any concessions from the path or tradition of struggle created by journalists such as Mîqdat Mîdhed Bedirxa and Musa Anter,” added Temel, referring to two prominent Kurdish journalists.
Prominent Kurdish journalist and intellectual Musa Anter was assassinated by the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-terror Organisation (JITEM) in 1992. He was exiled and jailed many times before his death.
From 1992 to 1994, a total of 76 journalists, staff and distributors of the Kurdish newspaper Özgür Gündem were murdered in Turkey by the paramilitary forces (JITEM) and Hisboullah forces. In 1994, three offices of the newspapers Özgür Gündem and Özgür Ülke were bombed.