Turkish female-only news site fights ‘terror propaganda’ ban

Jin News Agency logo. (Screengrab)
Updated 03 March 2018
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Turkish female-only news site fights ‘terror propaganda’ ban

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: A news website in the Kurdish-majority Turkish city of Diyarbakir, staffed only by women, has been repeatedly shut down by the authorities over alleged terror propaganda but it is refusing to give up the fight to publish.
Jin News Agency, from the Kurdish word for woman “Jin,” focuses on Kurdish and women’s issues and publishes in Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic and English.
Written for women, it is run by a female-only team from the accountant to the photographer, and editors to camerawomen.
The agency, set up in 2012, has come under pressure from the Turkish authorities who have closed it twice and shut off access to the agency seven times.
Turkish authorities accuse the agency of making “terror propaganda” for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984.
The PKK is proscribed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies and since the breakdown of a cease-fire in 2015 Turkey has launched a relentless crackdown against the group.
The crackdown has been wide, with media seen as sympathetic to the PKK finding themselves in the crosshairs of the authorities.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has argued there is no difference between a “terrorist holding a gun or a bomb or those who use their pen to serve their aims.”
Turkey stepped up the campaign after the failed July 2016 coup attempt, with dozens of media outlets accused of links to putschists and the PKK closed down.
There are currently six legal cases against Jin News Agency accusing it of “terror propaganda.”
Its website is blocked in Turkey.
The agency rejects the accusations and says that the issue is one of press freedom.
It is continuing to publish news but the articles can only be read on social media and accessible via Virtual Private Networks (VPN).
Camerawoman Beritan Elyakut, based in Diyarbakir and working for the agency for five years, complained the website was unable to “reach the outside world.”
“What else can we do?” she added as she filmed a story ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, saying the website used six different domain names “but closures continued uninterrupted.”
The latest website domain, jinnews7.com, was blocked in Turkey on February 22 after AFP spoke to Elyakut.
The website, funded by subsriptions, tackles topics that are off limits for Turkish media, including the fate of Abdullah Ocalan the PKK leader jailed for life by Turkey for terror offenses.
It has offered its critical take on Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in Syria and has also written about the disappearance in Iraq last year of two Turkish agents.
Critics say that the government has widened the definition of “terror propaganda” to an absurd width. But officials insist the measures are needed with the country fighting multiple terror groups.
After the the news site was shut down the first time, the women journalists renamed the agency “Sujin” meaning “packing needle” in Kurdish.
But in August 2017, Sujin was shut down by another emergency decree and they then renamed themselves Jin News.
While it once had 60 journalists in text, photo and video working for the agency across the country including Istanbul, Ankara and the Aegean city of Izmir, this has now fallen to 25. Eight women work in the Diyarbakir office but most work from home.
“Women are persecuted, and as a women’s news agency we must show this,” said Safiye Alagas, a photographer who has been working with the agency for six years, adding that it had “become a target” as a result.


Arab News launches ‘Road to 2030’ section to track Saudi Arabia’s bold reforms

Illustration by Steve Scott for Arab News
Updated 22 September 2018
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Arab News launches ‘Road to 2030’ section to track Saudi Arabia’s bold reforms

  • Section to provide news, opinion and analysis on country’s transformation
  • Newspaper’s National Day coverage looks ahead to 
Kingdom’s high-tech future

RIYADH: Arab News, the Middle East’s leading English-language daily, today announces the launch of a digital service to track and explain the ambitious reforms underway in Saudi Arabia.
Announced on the eve of Saudi National Day, the new “Road to 2030” section will include the latest news, analysis and opinion around the reforms and transformation underway in the Kingdom.
Hosted on the paper’s website, the section  —  www.arabnews.com/road2030 —  is named after the Vision 2030 program unveiled in 2016 by HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the Kingdom’s heir to the throne. 
It coincides with Arab News’ special coverage of Saudi National Day, which marks the formation of the Kingdom on Sept. 23, 1932.


The theme of the souvenir edition, published on Sunday, will be around the future of the Kingdom —  and how the country will look as the 2030 reforms continue to take shape. 
The edition of the newspaper features a unique wrap-around cover illustrating how the country could look in 12 years’ time, as well as a timeline about the reforms and articles about their progress and young people’s views on the future of Saudi Arabia. 
 “We decided to not to limit our Saudi National Day to celebrating the Kingdom’s past —  but to also look ahead to its bright and promising future under the ambitious Vision 2030 plan,” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News.  
“This is reflected via the newspaper’s commissioned cover artwork, which imagines Saudi Arabia in 12 years’ time, as well as the stories by our promising team of young Saudi journalists and contributors. 
“We are also proud to launch the Road to 2030 section, which will track the changes underway in the Kingdom and be a reference for observers, visitors and investors in Saudi Arabia.”
Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG). It has been the English newspaper of record for Saudi Arabia and the region for over 40 years.