Qamishli, Syria– On the 116th anniversary of the birth of the Kurdish Press or what is called the Kurdish Press Day, which marks the 22nd of April, many Kurdish organizations and political parties celebrated the occasion in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli.
On the 22nd of April 1898, the first Kurdish newspaper “Kurdistan Newspaper” was published in Cairo, Egypt, by Mikdad Midhad Badirhan, member of the prominent Kurdish Badirhan family. The newspaper became a platform for many Kurds as it was published in a period which witnessed the rise of Kurdish national groups.
The media office of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria (Pêşverû) organized a cultural symposium (in the conference hall of the party) on the occasion of the Kurdish Press Day with the attendance of local residents of the city of Qamishli. Faris Othman, member of the Central Committee of Pêşverû Party talked about the importance of the history of the Kurdish Press with a presentation of documentary photos about the publishing of “Kurdistan Newspaper” by Mikdad Midhat Badirhan and the role of Badirhan family in the development of Kurdish Press since 1898, beside their role in the development of Kurdish language.
In their turn, the Syrian Kurdish Journalists Union and the Syrian Kurdish Writers Union celebrated the occasion. Dilawer Zenki, member of the Kurdish Writers Union gave a speech in which he focused on the role of the Badirhan family in the history of Kurdish Press. Zenki also read to the audience the first article published in the “Kurdistan Newspaper” in 1898.
Several Syrian Kurdish areas, including Derik, Efrin and Kobane, celebrated the Kurdish Press Day on Tuesday. The Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) honoured a number of active journalists on the occasion for their role in the development of the Kurdish press in the region.
Speaking to ARA News, journalist Ahmed Othman said: “he Kurdish Press Day is the occasion on which all the Kurdish journalists pledge to defend the cause and rights of the Kurdish people, as the development of the Kurdish press is closely linked to the development of the people of Kurdistan and their liberation.”
Mohammed Qasim, a Kurdish writer from northeastern Syria, talked to ARA News about the current position of the Kurdish press and the reasons behind its absence, saying: “Up to this moment, the Kurds haven’t had an independent press; Kurdish media outlets are either owned by political parties or are financially or politically influenced by them. Moreover, the success of any national press depends on financial support from readers who regularly buy its newspapers and magazines, while the Kurdish press lacks success factors due to the prevalence of ignorance within the Kurdish community.”
Omar Resul, a Syrian Kurdish writer and poet, stated to ARA News that the Kurdish press hasn’t so far played the role entrusted to it on a Kurdish national level.
“However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the complicated situation of the Kurdish people who struggle to provide the minimum basic life conditions and who have been fighting their traditional enemies in various and most violent ways for over a century,” Resul said. “Therefore, in order to found a professional and respectful Kurdish press we first need the required conditions, starting from building specialized staffs and selling points to modern printing houses. Moreover, there have to be laws which govern the work and the freedom of press, and proper strategies and plans have to be made in each period.”
Peyman Qasim, a Syrian Kurdsh writer and activist, attributed the absence of a Syrian Kurdish press to the “absence of an effective dynamic for news reporting, the non-existence of professional Kurdish press cadres which depend on the elements of creative writing and historical and cultural background, beside the lack of a neutral and independent Kurdish press”.
Reporting by: Azad Jemkari, Omar Malla and Judi Aziz
Source: ARA News
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