On 22nd April Kurdish journalists in northeastern Syria celebrate the 123rd Kurdish Journalism Day with their continuing resistance against ongoing attacks.
Since Mikdad Bedirxan published a newspaper in Arabic entitled, “Kurdistan” in Cairo 123 years ago, Kurdish Journalism Day has been celebrated by journalists and activists in the Middle East and around the world since then.
The Kurdish media history in Syria dates back to 1931 when the magazine “Hawar” was published by Celadet Ali Bedirxan. Then the Kurdish media tradition continued with Ronahi, Denge Kurdistan (Kurdistan’s Voice) and Berxwedan magazines, which were published in Kurdish and Arabic.
Woman journalists have began to play a much more active role in Kurdish journalism in Syria since 2013 with the foundation of RAJIN, which was turned into an organisation of woman journalists called Women’s Media Union (YRJ) by 2020.
After NE Syria was liberated from ISIS, dozens of woman journalists and young journalists have taken part in journalism work of many TVs, agencies, journals and newspapers.
YRJ member woman journalists working in JIN TV, Ronahi TV, Rojava TV, Çira TV and Sterk TV continue to report news from NE Syria.
Among many other media outlets in NE Syria, Jin News, NûJINHA, Hawar News Agency and Firat News Agency report the latest developments from the region via their news websites.
Ronahî, Asoya Jin Magazine, Rojhilata Navîn, Dengê Jiyanê and Denge Kurdistan are among the newspapers in Kurdish published daily in NE Syria whilst Radyo Rojava, Kobanê FM, Star FM, Xabûr, Orkêş, Dirbêsiyê, Cûdî, Waşokanî, Sewt El-Hayat and Rêveberiya Xweser broadcast radio news.
“With the 19 July revolution, so many outlets were founded in Rojava (NE Syria). Our media organisations have organised themselves under very harsh circumstances,” said Silava Ehmed, a reporter for Ronahi newspaper in an interview with Jin News. “Starting with 5 reporters during the revolution, now our press has grown and has spread itself all around the region.”
The women’s revolution in Rojava found its reflection in women’s journalism as women journalists pay a key role in media outlets in NE Syria.
“Most of the staff of the media here consists of women. Our society has a feudal culture, but together with the revolution women moved beyond the borders of traditional cultural limits,” Ehmed added. “Media played an important role in breaking these gender roles. The more women worked in the media, the more the voice and the colour of women were reflected in the media, which eventually gave a self-confidence to women.” she said
Ronahi newspaper has been published in NE Syria for 8 years and women represent the majority of the journalists of the newspaper.
“In all fronts of war, woman journalists have worked and have become a source of hope for all the women suffering from war. During the wars in Kobani, woman journalists were on the frontline, documenting the facts of the war,” Ehmed said.
“In order to preserve the victory of the people, we try to become the voice, the ears and the eyes of the people.”
Kobanê FM has been also broadcasting for the last 8 years.
“We are the voice of the revolution and the women,” said Êva Bergel, a journalist working for Kobanê FM.
Bergel stresses that the attacks on journalism and in particular on Kurdish journalism continues in Turkey and in NE Syria without a break. “For 8 years, our radio frequency was interrupted by Turkey, but each time, we continued our broadcast with another frequency. We don’t stop our works no matter how much they attack us,” Bergel said.
“It is not just our radios and TVs that have come under attack; but our people. We broadcast the truth of the war and the attacks on our people,” Bergel added. “In order to devastate the Kurds, Turkey and its partners attack Kurdish journalism, but as Kurdish journalists we will continue to be the voice of the oppressed peoples and women.”