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The fourth episode of IPI’s podcast series IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey is out now!

In this episode of IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey, host Cansu Çamlıbel and her guest Ceren Sözeri, an associate professor in the communications department at Galatasaray University and a columnist for the newspaper Evrensel, discuss media language around the coverage of violence against women in Turkey and the press’s role in documenting such violence. The issue has surged to the forefront of public debate in Turkey following the brutal murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin in July.

Previous episodes of Freedom Dialogues are available here.

Media, and especially social media, re-shape and re-produce language, impacting societal consensus or polarization around certain issues. Çamlıbel and Sözeri discuss the most recent debate around the Istanbul Convention to prevent violence against women and recent protests in solidarity with victims following the Turkish government’s attempts to withdraw from the convention. This episode examines the media’s role in reporting on violence against women and domestic violence and the language it uses, highlighting examples.

Although Sözeri says that a significant change has taken place in the media recently through the efforts of the women’s movement, the change in the public view toward gender issues and in overall mentality regarding womens rights is too little. As in the example of Gültekin’s murder, certain media outlets published the news with the aim of getting maximum clicks, turning the incident into a photo gallery of the victim and losing the political aspect of violence against women in the country. According to Sözeri, this shows that neither the media language nor the general public mentality around this issue has changed.

Some of the topics covered in the podcast are as follows:

  • The media’s role in reporting and documenting violence against women
  • What’s expected from the media when reporting domestic violence
  • Ethical questions of journalism over whether the identity of the victim and details of the incident should be shared
  • Media language that normalizes violence in order to get clicks
  • Normalization of impunity via media language and the news’ role in guiding or encouraging the violence

About IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey

The International Press Institute (IPI) is proud to launch the new podcast series IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey, a platform for timely, vital conversations on press freedom, freedom of expression and the future of quality journalism. You’ll get the inside story from some of Turkey’s most trusted editors, journalists and relevant experts as they analyse and shed light on key journalism-related issues in Turkey for both local and international audiences. Episodes will be available in both English and Turkish.

As independent journalism in Turkey faces massive repression, its practitioners are fighting to keep the public informed and reinvent the profession to face the challenges to come. Hear from the experts.

IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey is hosted by Cansu Çamlıbel, editor-in-chief of the popular English language news site Duvar English and a member of IPI’s Turkey National Committee. Before joining Duvar, Çamlıbel was the U.S. correspondent of Hürriyet Daily News.

Highlights from the episode (Ceren Sözeri):

‘’We know that the performance of covering news about women and/or violence against women in Turkey’s media is rather poor.’’

‘’A woman who has been subjected to violence may want to reveal her identity in order to turn it into a fight against the violence. However, if the person does not want it, or if there is no chance to ask for permission, then of course the identity should not be disclosed in order to protect the life and safety of the victim. We are, unfortunately, talking about a journalism in Turkey that reveals the addresses of women shelters.”

‘’It is important to explain the violence using a political language without normalizing it, without going into all the details of the violence. It has to be explained that this is a problem of society and politics.’’

‘’There is the basic problem of a [political] stance behind these problematic headlines.’’

‘’The media can be in the position to break the spiral of silence in society.’’

‘’We learn about femicide and male violence from the news. The state does not have or provide any official data. We get the information about how many women have been killed from the news reported by journalists or civil society organizations.’’

‘’I find IPI’s work on freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey extremely valuable. It makes me feel good and feel the solidarity, and it should also feel good for all journalists.’’