CFWIJ: Kurdish women journalists are targeted most by the Turkish government

In its First Quarterly Report for 2023, CFWIJ reported an increase in physical assault and legal harassment against women journalists.

The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ) released its 2023 First Quarterly Report, according to which at least 100 women journalists spent the first quarter of the year behind bars, 4 less than in the first quarter of the previous year.

“Although there is a small decline in imprisoned women journalists, the number should be zero. Additionally, we are worried with the increase of physical and legal harassment against women journalists compared to the first quarter of 2022. More needs to be done to ensure that women and LGBTQI journalists can work in a safe and supportive environment that enables them to carry out their duties without fear of violence or intimidation,” said the CFWIJ.

According to the report, 100 women journalists spent the first quarter of 2023 behind bars, 24 women journalists physically attacked and 23 women journalists legally harassed.

The women journalists behind bars include 28 in Iran, 19 in Turkey, 15 in China, 9 in Belarus, 8 in Myanmar, 4 in Egypt, 3 in Russia, 3 in Vietnam, 2 in Ethiopia, 2 in Somalia, 1 in Laos, 1 in Syria, 1 in Hong Kong, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in Burundi, 1 in Palestine and 1 in Saudi Arabia.

“The overall intimidation of the press in some of the most censored countries has led to selfcensorship, resulting in fewer journalists taking risks and more cautious reporting under censorship. This creates a situation where journalists are unable to report freely and without fear of retaliation, which ultimately affects the quality of the information that is disseminated to the public,” the report said.

6 Turkish journalists assaulted while reporting on the aftermath of earthquakes

Journalists covering the devastating impact of the February earthquakes in Turkey not only faced practical challenges trying to access victims on the ground but were also frequently harassed and assaulted by citizens. CFWIJ recorded 6 incidents where women journalists were prevented from filming at disaster sites, threatened, or assaulted by locals.

Turkey’s legal harassment of critical journalists

CFWIJ reported that the Turkish government leads the list of countries weaponizing the law to silence women journalists. “Similar to the first quarter of 2022, Turkey has the highest number of legal harassment cases. Authorities have consistently resorted to travel bans, and bogus legal charges, including “insulting of public officials.”

The report pointed out that Kurdish women journalists are targeted most by the government, cynically using terrorism charges to censor and persecute them.

On the other hand, 8 journalists were targeted with legal proceedings in January and February 2023.