Women journalists in Turkey are reported to face criminal investigations and court cases that amount to judicial harassment and state violence on the one hand, while they are also subjected to gender discrimination because of social prejudices.
The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ) has reported 238 violations against female journalists in 2021 in Turkey.
According to the CFWIJ report that was released in February, at least 33 female journalists have been subjected to physical violence, threats and judicial harassment, 19 simply because of their professional work.
Ceren İskit, a representative of the CFWIJ, and reporter Melis Ciddioğlu, spoke to Mezopotamya News Agency about the hardships faced by female journalists.
“It is very difficult for a woman to be a journalist in Turkey. You are likely to face serious discrimination both in the media company you are working in, and in the field,” İskit said.
“We mostly face judicial harassment in Turkey. What this means is criminal investigations against journalists, trials against them and the prosecution processes. We have been reporting on 29 court cases involving female journalists since January 2022 (…) Another issue is the police violence and the verbal harassment that many female journalists are subjected to all the time. They are seen as ‘easy targets’ because of their gender.”
Melis Ciddioğlu, a reporter for Pirha News Agency, commented on her own experiences in the field.
“Women are usually the first to be fired in the line of work because they are seen as more vulnerable, and the employer thinks that they can be easily replaced. But this is obviously not true,” she said, adding:
“When I go out for a report, they sometimes ignore me because I am a woman (…) The powerful officials of the establishment
don’t take you seriously, simply because you are a woman. They presume that you are fragile and exert more pressure on you. This has been going on for centuries. It is not anything new. And perhaps it’s not so easy dealing with it, but I think it’s been grappled with by women a lot. I mean, women have made themselves much more visible now. They can now stand up and say, ‘Here we are!'”
Ciddioğlu concluded saying, “I believe women should be more organised. There ought to be more solidarity among them.”