The 40th episode of IPI’s podcast series IPI Freedom Dialogues: Turkey is out now!

In this episode of IPI Free Dialogues, journalist Cansu Çamlıbel hosted freelance journalist Hale Gönültaş to discuss the transformation of freelance journalism in Turkey, and the threats and pressure Gönültaş faces due to her reporting.

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In May 2023, Gönültaş was subjected to threats and harassment by members of an Islamist group – Tevhid, after reporting on the story of a young woman who joined ISIS at the age of 18 and was later revealed to have connections with the Tevhid group. Gönültaş mentioned that she was saddened by the decision of “non-prosecution” for the criminal complaint she filed to the prosecutor’s office on the threats against her by Tevhid members. “I was upset when I saw the decision of non-prosecution from the prosecutor’s office. Although I have faced similar decisions before and I am used to it, I got upset once again. That’s to say that we still have hope (for justice)” she said.

Back in December 2022, Gönültaş reported on the story of a 12-year-old girl in Manisa province who was taken under state protection after being sexually abused by two men and was later found working in night clubs despite being underage and under state protection. After the news report, a criminal complaint was filed against her by a police officer, whose name was not mentioned in the news report and she was later threatened by the police officers who invited her to give her statement in the scope of the criminal complaint.

Speaking about the threats she received due to her journalistic activities, Gönültaş said, “Being constantly in the spotlight of news reports due to the threats I receive is exhausting. I wish that the focus could shift from the pressure I face to the vulnerable people in the stories I cover. Nevertheless, there comes a point when the public inevitably becomes aware of these issues, thanks to the collective efforts of my colleagues and journalist associations.”

Topics covered in this podcast include:

  • The changing structure of freelance journalism in Turkey
  • The new and digital era in journalism
  • Differences between being a male and female journalist

Previous episodes of IPI’s Freedom Dialogues: Turkey podcasts are available here.