The premises that Botan International opened in Diyarbakır on 28 August with RSF’s financial support will host training, seminars and workshops (including podcast workshops). It will also provide e-books, a sound studio and offices free to journalists.
“Botan International is the first Kurdish NGO to provide education to Kurdish media in Turkey and RSF is the first international NGO to back them in order to offer training to Kurdish media,” said Laetitia Chesseron, head of local partnerships and capacity-building at RSF. “We are very pleased to support Kurdish press freedom and free speech by means of this project.”
According to the company Rawest, Kurdish is the mother tongue of 25% of Turkey’s citizens and between 16 and 18% of them – around 14 million Turks – speak it at home. But the teaching of Kurdish is banned in Turkey’s schools and only one of Turkey’s public TV channels (TRT Kurdi) broadcasts news in Kurdish. At the same time, there are few Kurdish journalists and they have few information resources in their language. Until now, there has been no support for Kurdish journalists.
“This is a development that will be recorded in Kurdish media history in Turkey,” Botan International CEO Murat Bayram said. “It is an honour for us to establish the first Kurdish media education office with RSF, one that works for freedom of information. It is very meaningful to teach new media techniques to young journalists who will bring new perspectives to Kurdish media.”
Launched in August 2020, Botan International aims to promote Kurdish journalism and press freedom by, inter alia, providing journalists and trainee journalists with education in the Kurdish media. Botan International produces media content in Kurdish and has created a network of young journalists (50 female and 25 male) and experienced journalists working for local, national and international media.
Turkey is ranked 153rd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index