Kurdish media has continued to be the voice of – and for – Kurdish people and also all the oppressed communities who live in the four parts of Kurdistan. Jin News interviewed Kurdish women journalists from different countries who continue the tradition of Kurdish journalism, despite all the difficulties they are subjected to as Kurdish women journalists.
“As Kurdistan has been divided into four parts, Kurdish women have also been divided into four parts and the situation in Bashur (Iraqi Kurdistan) is not easy for us. As you know, there is great pressure against the media if they do not support the government”, said Nujinha Sulaymaniyah reporter Tewar Adil.
“They are acting like the voice of the government. For instance, there are various problems in Sinjar and Makhmur. People have been suffering there due to economic and health problems, but they do not reflect it in their media coverage”, Adil noted, with reference to coverage of news by the government-affiliated media in Iraqi Kurdistan. “Many people died during the recent events that took place there, but they did not even come to report about it”, she observed.
Adil also stated that working ‘as a woman’ is hard in every aspect of life in Iraqi Kurdistan. “Not only as a journalist, even as a government officer: women are not allowed to work freely. They do not trust and respect the will of women. When there is an issue affecting women, it is hard to reflect it in media, but there are very brave women journalists who work here, who continue in their profession despite all these pressures”, she stated.
Newroz Demhat, the anchorwoman at Ronahî TV, is another Kurdish woman journalist who has been reporting about the ongoing developments in the region and also the revolution in Rojava. “Many women are inspired by Kurdish women journalists since they have reported the ‘real stories’ of resistance against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Rojava. As Kurdish women fighters bravely fought against ISIS, Kurdish women journalists showed that resistance to the world”, Demhat observed.
Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) journalist Zemo Ağgöz thinks that Kurdish women have been following the tradition that they learned from pioneering women journalists like Gurbetelli Ersöz, Denîz Firat and Nujiyan Erhan.
“To protect a language is only possible if you speak it. There are passionate people about it whom we respect”, Ağgöz said.
She told the story of an old Kurdish language teacher who visited their agency. “He was a Kurdish Language teacher in Kurdi-Der for years. Now, he is very old and not in good health. However, he visited our agency when Xwebûn Newspaper was published. Xwebûn is a journal in Kurdish and he took great effort to reach out to that newspaper despite his old age. You should have seen his eyes shining when he touched the newspaper”, she said. “This is how you love and protect your mother language and the Kurdish press. For 123 years, Kurdish journalists have never given up telling the truth. We owe this to these people and we will never give up that struggle”.
Medya TV anchor Nesrin Heval Aslan commemorated those Kurdish journalists killed during the 1990s. “Our friends were murdered in the 1990s but their voices could not be silenced since we continue to speak for them”, Aslan said.
Aslan also spoke about the importance of the Kurdish women’s movement. “We feel stronger when we know that there are women outside who resist against patriarchy”, she said. “As the women’s struggle gains in strength, we women journalists are empowered by it. We, women, continue to support each other against male dominance”.
Regarding the pressures that have been exerted against the Kurdish press, Aslan is of the opinion that Bakur (Northern Kurdistan) is the region where assimilation politics has been most harshly imposed. “People speak Kurdish in their daily lives in Rojhilat (Iranian Kurdistan)”, she noted, “but in Bakur, it is harder. That is why Kurdish media has a very important role to play in Bakur. That is our duty – as women journalists – to express the stories of the Kurds and women and to work for peace”.