"And so we are writing. We write without thinking about what men would say", said Virgina Woolf.
Women journalists from Diyarbakır say, "And we are changing the language of the media. The world media will never be the same after us".
Ten women came together in Diyarbakır, a Kurdish-majority city in south-eastern Turkey, and founded the first women's news agency of Turkey. The entire team of the Jin News Agency (JİNHA) consists of women only - from the news director to the reporter, from the camerawomen to the photographer. The members of the young team are between 23 and 35 years old and they are determined to break up with the masculine gender of the media.
JİNHA is going to broadcast in Kurdish, Turkish and English. News director for Turkish Hazal Peker and news director for Kurdish Hangül Özbey talked to bianet about the challenge of establishing JİNHA.
"We have both been doing journalism for a long time. We worked as reporters, editors and news directors for several years. However, both of us had a special field of interest regarding the women's viewpoint and the women's place in the media. We have both been working on these issues. Ever since we started working, people we talked to told us 'What a strong mouth you have. You persuade your counterparts immediately. You must be Turkey's iron jawed angels'".
"Again, we wrote news at the press outlets we were working for but the last dot was always put by our directors and managers who were men. We thought that this gap could be closed by a news team of women in order to include the women's perspective and also to reflect our own language in the news we write".
Women's peace language against male language of the media
"The media creates a language in society. The language currently created is a sexist language", said Hazal Peker. "We want to change that. To the contrary of the masculine and militarist language that is used to direct the media's mass psychology, we want the female perspective that is not superficial but tackles the deep-rooted causes of a problem to become common place in the media. Our publication policies are founded on 'how to reach the solution of a problem from its very essence'".
The JİNHA web site will only be accessible with a password given to subscribers. The centre of the agency is in Diyarbakır because the city is generally open to the work of women and since the city is home to many women organizations.
The JİNHA team has been preparing to publish for one year. They have been doing research on news writing, language and style and camera shooting techniques and they try to create their own style for the women's news agency.
"While we were establishing the agency we talked to women journalists and non-governmental organizations on how to define our publication policies, how to reach women or how to develop a network of reporters. As a result, we brought together women who were concerned with this issue".
"After that, we organized training sessions for the reporters who were going to work for us, for photographers and camerawomen. We gave training on the topic of social gender because we are going to do journalism far away from the male language. Even for the camera shooting techniques we developed an approach with a women's focus".
Making women's voices heard on 8 March
The official opening of the JİNHA women's news agency was celebrated in an opening ceremony on Thursday evening (8 March) at the Cegerxwîn Culture and Arts Centre in Kayapınar (Diyarbakır).
"Women should not read their own news on page 3 anymore. They should not be the second-rank factor or a pornographic requisite on television and the papers. We are opening a news centre with a social gender perspective".
"We open JİNHA on 8 March, the day when women around the world raise their voices. As women journalists from Diyarbakır, we want to be part of that voice with our video and photo cameras and we want to rise within that voice"
Women news agencies around the world
* Women's Feature Service (WSF): "News, features and opinion from a gender perspective" on www.wfsnews.org.
"WFS began in 1978 as a UNESCO initiative, located within Inter Press Service (IPS) - the third world news agency headquartered in Rome, Italy. The objective was to ensure more gender analyses and views in the media. WFS became an independent organisation in 1991. It is based in New Delhi, India".
It is WSF's mission to build "awareness about women's lives, rights and concerns and generating professionally edited stories on them for the media every week".
* Iran's Women News Agency (IWNA): Founded on 14 December 2004, IWNA is an independent news agency with a women's focus. It was founded on the birthday of Imam Reza, the eighth Imam of Twelver Shi'ites and seventh descendent of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Even though IWNA focuses on women, the agency announced upon its opening that it was not going to be feminist or political but tackling women's problems in daily life.
The agency has an Arabic, Persian and English website on en.wafa.ir.
* The Television News Agency (TVNA) was founded in Bangladesh on 19 October 2009 in co-operation with the USA-based International Centre for Journalists and the Bangladesh Development Centre for Journalism and Communication. The agency is active in Bangladesh. It is run exclusively by women and has a women's focus.
TVNA aims at broadcasting stories concerning women's issues that are generally under-reported in the Bangladesh main stream media. The agency provides referring training to their women reporters. (ÇT/VK)