Journalists in Turkey have been going through difficult times recently. In addition to the professional challenges of reporting natural disasters, civil unrest and nearby conflict, large numbers have been targeted by the government as they try to silence critical or independent voices. Thousands have been prosecuted and hundreds imprisoned on terrorism and anti-state charges; many more have lost their jobs or become the targets of smear campaigns. This has had devastating consequences for freelancers and their families.
The Trust has been supporting Turkish freelancers with individual assistance grants, but we wanted to do something that would help them gain the skills they need to protect themselves and keep working. At the same time we wanted to provide an opportunity for freelancers to share experiences and discuss their concerns.
The two day workshop, which took place at the Kadir Has University in Istanbul, was attended by fourteen freelancers. They learned about the risk factors associated with reporting dangerous and traumatic stories, how to identify and manage different levels of trauma, and how to implement strategies for stress management. Participants were also given best practice recommendations to help them work with survivors and those suffering grief.
"This is the first time this type of training has been given to Turkish freelancers, and its been really valuable", said Sarah Giaziri, RPT's MENA Programme Officer. "Participants have gained essential trauma skills and knowledge. But this has also been an opportunity for Turkish freelancers from different working backgrounds to get together, share experiences and provide support for one another. The feedback has been extremely positive".