Turkey hosts over 4 million refugees, more than any other country. As the Syrian Civil War shows little sign of waning and as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to worsen, more and more vulnerable families and individuals have fled to Turkey with the hopes of eventually reaching Europe or the US. But resettlement to these countries is occurring at a snail’s pace, and integration of these groups into Turkish society seems to be the most viable option. Indeed, 10 years into the Syrian Civil War, many refugees have come to call Turkey home and have no intention of returning to Syria. This has presented significant challenges, especially as Turkey struggles with economic uncertainty in the wake of COVID-19.
Despite suffering some of the worst effects of the pandemic and its economic fallout, refugees, asylum seekers, and other forced migrants in Turkey have increasingly become scapegoats, subjected to hate speech and xenophobia in both traditional and social media.
To combat this trend by building the capacities of local migrant and host journalists, HasNa has teamed up with Kırkayak Kültür in Gaziantep, Turkey to pursue Media in Tandem: Social Cohesion through Storytelling.
-Young professionals and MA students
- Local and migrant communities
- Media platforms belonging to local and migrant communities – Media workers in Turkey
- Audiences of the screenings
- The general public
Purpose of the Project:
By bringing together members of the Turkish host and Syrian refugee communities to collaborate and by introducing their experiences to Turkish and international audiences, the project aims: 1) to increase social cohesion efforts in Turkey both through tangible practice and public awareness-raising, and 2) to boost empathy and solidarity with these communities among humanitarian workers, activists, scholars, policymakers, and the general public in the United States, and Washington DC in particular.
By providing funds, training, and international recognition to the selected fellows, the project intends to boost their self-worth, conflict-resolution skills, and avenues for creative expression. By requiring their cooperation and interdependence throughout the workshop and filming periods, the project aims to foster friendship and understanding between the fellows.
Recent polls show that the “social distance” between Turks and Syrians is growing, despite their years of close contact and shared communities. By screening fellows’ short videos in Gaziantep and via other civil society organizations across Turkey, the project intends to foster inter- communal dialogue and raise awareness, thereby promoting a journalism of peace and peaceful coexistence.
In the US, sentiments towards immigrants, refugees, and Islam continue to sour, especially on the level of political rhetoric. By screening and discussing these films in Washington DC, the project intends to combat Islamophobia, xenophobia, and overall, to humanize the experiences of communities in Turkey directly and indirectly affected by the Syrian Civil War and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Target Area and Population
In its pilot stage, the project will focus on aspiring/citizen journalists within the Syrian refugee and Turkish host communities around Turkey. The specific selection criteria will be developed collaboratively with Kırkayak Kültür. We will be selecting 10 participants from the refugee community and 10 participants from the Turkish host community.
Project Goal and Expected Output
The use of digital platforms by civil society can be understood in the context of the global rise of digital technologies in general. The popularity of social media is also important for storytelling platforms as civil society organizations (CSOs) rely on these platforms for the stories to be disseminated. The use of digital technology ensures that the projects are not situated solely in local contexts and are therefore not subject to some of the limitations of localized activism, such as the international community’s limited access to these efforts. Therefore, the expected outputs of HasNa’s digital storytelling project during the one-year support period are as follows:
- Training series for young journalist candidates
- Joint content production of participants
- Media content to be published by different media channels (online or traditional)
- Workshop with relevant stakeholders
- Final report
- 2 screening events, one in Gaziantep and one in Washington DC, followed by an extensive social media campaign
The project aims to support social cohesion by decreasing hate speech practices within (migrant and locally-run) media platforms located in Turkey by raising awareness and providing an open space for the fellows to share their experiences. To this end, the project team will conduct the following activities:
Act.1: Capacity building activities
Act.1.1: Peace Journalism Training Sessions: Training sessions will be held with the participation of 20 journalists in total; 10 from local, 10 from refugee communities. After the call for applications goes public, participants will be selected based on their experience, enthusiasm and commitment to the program, as well as physical proximity to Gaziantep and/or Hatay. The academic coordinator, HasNa crew and project coordinator will evaluate the participants. Training will consist of 12 online sessions under the themes; peace journalism, media and ethics (2), photography ethics, citizen journalism, rights-based journalism, new media, representation of refugees in the media, human rights and media, gender equality-focused journalism, communication law. The sessions will be held with the facilitation of academicians, well-known journalists and experts in the field. The sessions will last for two hours with the Q&A sessions. After the 6th session, the students will consult with trainers and project staff for a half hour on the aims of their digital content. Through a joint what’s app group, participants will be able to access consultants on an ongoing basis. Separate meeting will be organized, if needed.
After the sixth lesson, the academic coordinator, project crew and participants will have a meeting in which groups will be formed. They will decide on the topic they want to work on and will create bi-communal groups based on the topics for which they would like to produce content.
The main objective of these sessions is to raise awareness about hate speech within the media and the ways to detect it. With this knowledge, participants will be able to create content that promotes peace, collaboration, non-discrimination, empathy, and equality. These trainings will provide participants with the knowledge of ethical codes that should be applied at and incorporated into different stages of content production.
The impact of these trainings will be monitored through a pretest and posttest which will assess the educational acquisition and retainment of the participants, and through a critical comparison of their contents. The participants will also receive a stipend to cover the costs related to the videos that they will produce.
|19 Oct Tuesday||1- Introduction|
|21 Oct Thursday||2- Peace Journalism||Steve Youngblood|
|26 Oct Tuesday||3- Citizenship Journalism||Semiray Yücebaş|
|28 Oct Thursday||4- Rights-based Journalism||Ali Duran Topuz|
|2 Nov Tuesday||6- Representation of migrants in the media||Dilan Taşdemir|
|4 Nov Thursday||5- New Media and Social Transformation||Gülcan Ergün|
|9 Nov Tuesday||7- Visual Ethics||Kemal Vural Tarlan|
|11 Nov Thursday||8- Human Rights and Media||Steve Youngblood|
|16 Nov Tuesday||9- Gender-equality based media||Tülay Atay|
|18 Nov Thursday||10- Communication Law||Fikret İlkiz|
|23 Nov Tuesday||11- Media and Ethics (1/2)||Ruşen Çakır|
|25 Nov Thursday||12- Media and Ethics (2/2)||Tülay Atay|
Act.1.2: Content production: The bi-communal groups of trainees will produce digital content (video, audio recordings, or series of photographs) based on topics determined in the meeting after the sixth training session. Video and audio content will have a duration of approximately 3- 5 minutes. The content will be screened coinciding with the launch of the final project report and Inclusive Peace Journalism Workshop. After the screening, participants may share the contents of the project on different media channels.
Act.2: Advocacy activities
Act.2.1: Launch of the report and Inclusive Peace Journalism Workshop: A report on the project will be released to the public. The report will consist of an introduction of the project, its background, objectives, and methodology as well as policy recommendations and a preliminary evaluation. The HasNa and Kırkayak teams will work collaboratively on the report. After the launch, the content produced during the project will be screened in both Washington, DC, US and Gaziantep, Turkey. In Gaziantep, following the screening, the floor will be opened up to relevant stakeholders such as media institutions, public authorities, universities etc. Here, discussions will be encouraged on what else can be done and how to proceed based on what we have accomplished during the project. As another step in the monitoring and evaluation of the project, audiences at both events in DC and Gaziantep will be asked to complete a survey assessing their views and sentiments before and after the screening.Act.2.2: Social media campaign: With the policy suggestions put forward in the report, the project team and participants will execute a social media campaign. The campaign will also be used as a dissemination tool for the content that is produced by the participants. Analytics of the content’s views online and engagement with the project on social media will be observed as a way of collecting data to assist in the monitoring and evaluation of the project. Moreover, a more qualitative assessment of the project will be compiled by closely monitoring comments, reactions, the reception of the project in the media (if any), and through participant and other stakeholder/staff feedback.