we need more ef­fec­tive free­dom, con­struc­tive power of word

On the 116th an­niver­sary of Kur­dish me­dia,

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS - By Gazi Has­san

On 22nd April of this year, we cel­e­brated the 116th an­niver­sary of is­su­ing the first Kur­dish news­pa­per in the cap­i­tal of Egypt, Cairo. In 1967, Maruf Kheznedar pub­lished again the first copy of the news­pa­per. From that day on, jour­nal­ists of Kur­dis­tan have been cel­e­brat­ing the an­niver­sary of Kur­dish me­dia and Miq­dad Mid­het Bedirxan, who is­sued the first Kur­dish news­pa­per, in var­i­ous ways, and pro­pose new meth­ods and ideas to im­prove the con­stant process of the Kur­dish me­dia.

On this day, jour­nal­ists do not solely cel­e­brate a clas­sic an­niver­sary, but they in­tend to deliver mes­sages, de­fine pur­poses and spec­ify new up-to-date strate­gies in ac­cor­dance with the po­lit­i­cal cir­cum­stances in Kur­dis­tan. On this oc­ca­sion, we should once again in­sist on pre­serv­ing the life and ca­reer of jour­nal­ists, be­cause some­times jour­nal­ists come un­der pres­sure and threat to the de­gree of killing. The re­cent one was Kawa Garmiyany who was mur­dered in an in­hu­mane way out­side his own house.

Im­prov­ing the jour­nal­is­tic mes­sage and deep­en­ing the po­lit­i­cal and so­cial pur­poses of news­pa­pers to gain the trust of the people is one of the im­por­tant obli­ga­tions of this era, be­cause people gen­er­ally gain in­for­ma­tion from mass me­dia and the me­dia are strug­gling to play an ac­tive and his­toric role in form­ing the pub­lic opin­ion. Through pub­lish­ing mul­ti­fac­eted po­lit­i­cal and so­cial ap­proaches, the mass me­dia trig­ger dis­agree­ments and ar­gu­ments among the po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the pub­lic as well.

In a day like this, along­side com­mem­o­rat­ing the strug­gle and ef­forts of the me­dia move­ment lead­ers and those who have sac­ri­ficed their lives for free­dom of ex­pres­sion and the truth , we should re­mem­ber that jour­nal­ists will achieve far more if they do not ex­clude them­selves in the so­cial fab­ric , and do not make de­ci­sions which re­sult in rais­ing doubts and de­nial of one an­other, but they should rather work as­sid­u­ously and hon­estly to build a civil so­ci­ety, sup­port the hu­man rights prin­ci­ples and ci­ti­zen­ship in the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Be­side the con­spic­u­ous de­vel­op­ment that can be seen in the Kur­dish me­dia, we should men­tion the tech­ni­cal growth and the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the ide­o­log­i­cal and eth­nic dif­fer­ences as well. In ad­di­tion to tens of satel­lite sta­tions, lo­cal TVs, ra­dio broad­cast­ing, pub­lish­ing more than 500 news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines in Kur­dish, Ara­bic, Syr­iac, and Turk­mani lan­guages, all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties in­clud­ing the na­tional, re­li­gious, demo­cratic and the com­mu­nists are free in their work with­out any cen­sor- ship from the govern­ment or any type of ob­sta­cles in de­liv­er­ing their mas­sages.

Var­i­ous eth­nic and re­li­gious groups in Kur­dis­tan such as Turk­man, Syr­iac, Kil­dan, Ezidi, Kakayi, Sabia, Chris­tians and Mus­lims have their own me­dia and pub­lish­ing in­sti­tu­tions in their own lan­guages. This is looked upon as a bright side of democ­racy and ev­ery­one has been prac­ti­cally guar­an­teed this wide-range ground for de­liv­er­ing their mes­sage. They’re also free in de­fend­ing their in­ter­ests and rights. That’s why, across the Mid­dle East, this ex­pe­ri­ence of Kur­dis­tan, though still not a rec­og­nized state, can be looked upon as a pos­i­tive side of democ­racy and a step to­ward form­ing a mod­ern and demo­cratic so­ci­ety.

On this oc­ca­sion, as a jour­nal­ist who’s been work­ing since 1991 up­ris­ing, and pre­vi­ously worked in the Kur­dis­tan Li­bra­tion Revo­lu­tion’s me­dia, I feel there’s a kind of abuse of po­si­tion and so­cial power by jour­nal­ists, who have been di­vided into the fronts of the po­lit­i­cal con­flicts. There are some who don’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween jour­nal­is­tic ca­reer as a na­tional and strate­gic re­spon­si­bil­ity, and deep­en­ing the crises to­wards the di­rec­tion of politi­ciz­ing news and pub­lish­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion. And some jour­nal­ists per­ceive the pro­fes­sion as a source of in­come and salary. There’re oth­ers out­side the po­lit­i­cal and so­cial re­al­ity of Kur­dis­tan who try to re­strict the free­dom of speech in ac­cor­dance with their power and opin­ion. What’s more se­ri­ous is that me­dia in­sti­tu­tions have as­signed a large group of un­em­ployed people to work as jour­nal­ists. These non-pro­fes­sion­als who have been a source of cor­rup­tion in the man­ner of deal­ing with news, in­for­ma­tion, so­cial and po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments. There­fore, it’s the duty and obli­ga­tion of this stage that jour­nal­ists re­turn to the pro­fes­sion­al­ism of their work. Jour­nal­ists as ac­tive and lively part should work for the people and de­liv­er­ing the gen­uine mes­sage to the pub­lic. Jour­nal­ists should not prac­tice cen­sor­ship against so­ci­ety and guide the pub­lic opin­ion to­wards mis­guided goals, and cause con­cerns, anx­i­ety and dis­trust among people. It’s also not pos­si­ble to per­ceive news­pa­pers and other mass me­dia ac­tors as soul­less tools sep­a­rated from the cur­rent de­vel­op­ments be­cause nowa­days me­dia have wit­nessed a sur­pris­ingly great growth.

116 years ago, Kur­dish news­pa­per be­gun with few printed pages. But to­day, in­ter­net, web­sites and so­cial net­works and other fields of in­ter­net are ef­fec­tively used by the people, en­abling them to con­trib­ute freely to find and pub­lish news. The Kur­dish me­dia have been uniquely ben­e­fited a lot from com­puter and tech­nol­ogy com­pared with the past, adding to the use of satel­lite, and broad­cast­ing ra­dio sta­tions on FM and the in­ter­net, and pub­lish­ing news­pa­pers, mag­a­zines and books via web­sites, which can link Kur­dish in­di­vid­u­als to­gether and with the outer world as well.

This is progress; jour­nal­ists should catch up with the level of this rapid growth of me­dia in or­der to act as a re­spon­si­ble so­cial power. They should use the free word to nur­ture the Kur­dish in­di­vid­u­als to value free­dom of speech, be­cause words can have a thou­sand times more im­pact on people than bul­lets. And the me­dia pos­sess more than sev­eral army’s power in launch­ing at­tacks.

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