The level of violence and oppression that journalists in Turkey face is escalating by the day – and women journalists are on the front line. After the publication of a police directive in May to prevent audiovisual reporting on protests, the number of incidents in which women journalists were physically assaulted by the police or prevented from covering public demonstrations has risen. In July, Turkey registered 10 physical assaults against women journalists, the second-highest number of among countries surveyed by the Coalition for Women in Journalism. Women journalists have been dragged on the ground, pushed around, and even beaten and injured. Moreover, the government does not hesitate to turn physical attacks on women journalists into political repression: physical violence is often followed by detention.
But the attacks on women journalists in Turkey aren’t limited to the streets. As independent journalism in Turkey shifts online at an accelerating pace, women journalists occupy an increasingly precarious position on digital platforms. The fact that women journalists are disproportionately targeted by cyberbullying, harassment, and abuse on digital platforms raises huge concerns about their physical and psychological safety. Online harassment against women journalists in Turkey mostly takes the form of hate-filled rhetoric and insults with a patriarchal and misogynistic tint.