Individual Disarmament and Violence News in Turkey Local Media Trainings

Local Media Seminar on Individual Disarmament and News on Violence in Turkey

October 25th, 2009, Simer Hotel

Founding President of Umut Foundation



Dear guests,
I feel very happy for being together with you in our 5th Local Media Seminar on “Individual Disarmament and News on Violence in Turkey” in Kars.
Umut Foundation has been showing efforts regarding individual disarmament, violence, peace culture and superiority of law for 16 years, while sharing its knowledge and researches with the public in every opportunity. In this period, media members’ interest particularly in individual armament and rising violation of the right to live and support to disarmament have been never lacking. 
In our efforts, being aware of the fact that violence is caused by social inequalities, we also need to stress out that such equalities are a kind of spiral that crumples our lives, embitters our fears and gradually leads to more and more violence. One of the specific reasons behind individual armament, the extreme point of violence, is the way to exist in social life by “committing violence”. An individual choosing “armament” as the way of emphasizing his existence or the way of showing himself is essentially the affirmation of inequality, because those who think that they will gain “power” by having the edge over through “gun” flaunt thus accept that they will prove their very own existing with such power. 
However, individuals getting armed further grows the amplitude of violence. Today, Prof. Dr. Timur Demirbaş and Dr. Ayhan Akcan will draw attention to the amplitude of individual armament in Turkey. However, I would like to stress out that today 3,000 people die in Turkey every year because of firearms. Of these citizens, an average of 700 people lose their lives because of accidents caused by firearms.
“Gun” is accepted as a cultural feature in our country. As firearms are used during exhibition of anger, rage and hostility, it is also assumed that honor and honesty can be protected or enthusiasm can be celebrated with guns. In any occasion, the result is only death… 
We frequently see in media such life stories that prove us this reality over and over. We, as readers/viewers and listeners” and you, as journalists who forward us these events… All of us must be aware of this truth at least: “right to live” is a person’s most fundamental right. This right is equal for everyone. One of the most important social problems disrupting such equality is individual armament. We, as Umut Foundation, while dealing with the matter of individual armament, put emphasis on superiority of law, peace culture, and awareness of being a citizen, while stressing out the importance of such concepts,  
You, our journalist citizens, play a significant role in this matter. It is an important step that you remember that the situation you face is related to people’s right to live when reporting incidents of violence, making news and forwarding news to us. 
News on violence, which were conceptualized as 3rd Page news, tell media audience various life stories. How sensitive are we regarding the facts told in these stories which we quickly consume and the problems indicated by them? Well, on the other hand, are our journalist friends who witness these news and incidents aware of the role and responsibility they undertake as the narrators of such stories?
These questions constitute the basis of the current training program. Therefore, we convened here today to hold the Local Media Seminar on Individual Disarmament and News on Violence in Turkey in order to analyze the way how the media, as the fourth power, reports events related to violence and individual armament to the society and to discuss how to build up a critical and objective approach that complies with the requirements of the profession.
Session I will begin soon with Dr. Recep Yaşar’s presentation on “Journalists’ Approach to News on Violence within the framework of Principles of Journalism and the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities by the Turkish Association of Journalists”. Then, Prof. Dr. Nurçay Türkoğlu will discuss “News on Violence in Media in terms of Ethics” and Prof. Dr. Timur Demirbaş will talk about “News on Violence in Media in terms of Reflection of Fear of Crime”.
We will begin Session II of the Seminar after lunch with Psychiatrist Dr. Ayhan Akcan’s speech titled “Individual Disarmament in terms of Right to Live: Situation in Turkey and Responsibilities of the Media”. Following Ragıp Duran’s (French Liberation Newspaper’s Turkey Reporter) presentation on “Discourse of Hatred in Media”, Semiran Kaya will inform us about the subject “News on Violence and Ethics in Germany”.
Both sessions will be moderated by Mr. Yücel Sezer, President of Kars Association of Journalists. I thank him very much for his support.
We wish to be enlightened with your experiences and opinions today during the sharing of our opinions and knowledge with you, our precious journalist friends. Therefore, 3rd and final session of our seminar is quite important. In the final debate session on “Local Media’s View of Violence Reporting”, we will be with our lecturers, moderators and you, our precious journalist friends. We require you to participate in the final session where we will mutually set forth our point of view towards the matter and share with us your thoughts, questions and evaluations.
Hereby, I present my endless thanks to all lecturers. I also thank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Associations that made substantial contribution for the making of this meeting.
I again say ‘Welcome’ to all and wish you an efficient and entertaining study with high participation.