The programme organised at the HKU Congress and Cultural Centre and moderated by Asst. Assoc. Prof. Dr. Murat Aslan was attended by Deputy General Manager and Executive Editor of Anadolu Agency (AA) Metin Mutanoğlu, TRT Deputy General Manager Erkan Durdu, TRT World Director Fatih Er, journalist Mete Çubukçu and TRT reporter Bülent Çulcuoğlu as speakers.
Journalists who shared their professional experience in the programme replied the questions from the students as well.
In the speech he gave, the Deputy General Manager and Executive Editor of AA Metin Mutanoğlu stated that journalism is a sacred profession and said that he had been believing this concept more for the past 10 years.
Having told that doctors would save people’s lives and teachers would take a child from nothing and make him a knowledgeable individual, Mutanoğlu spoke as follows: “I compare journalism with doctoring and teaching. Just as these two professions are sacred, journalism is also sacred. For, in this era of ours, especially in a period when social media has been so intensive and which is called the era of information but has actually turned to a landfill of information, journalism is a genuine profession which may most accurately communicate what is really going on in life, or if it is a field of war, what is going on in the war.”
Mutanoğlu addressed the students of the Faculty of Communication and said, “The way you have just set out is one which is really valuable. The way you will take from now on is one which will be useful for both you and your country.”
Having stated that the concept of embedded journalism was not a new concept and that it was a concept which was known to this geography where wars had been particularly being experienced for many years, Mutanoğlu made the following assessment:
“We are living in a geography where the most chaotic circumstances in the world are being experienced. A couple of days ago, a picture of the Canadian PM was published… it was about the socks he was wearing. When we look at the speeches given, they are so undisturbed because there are no crises around them. I mean, people are extremely undisturbed, but the geography where we are living is not the same. While introducing themselves, THY says, “When we start from İstanbul, you are 3 hours away from 23 countries.’ This is so fine a thing, but from another perspective, we are living in a location where there have been political, ethnic and religious fights and which has been accommodating this potential of right within itself for ages. Here is the issue of Syria… Nobody would believe if we said Syria would be like this ten years ago. But when we look today, seven years in which approximately six hundred thousand people have lost their lives have been experienced. Geographies of this kind are those which host a significant potential of war and accommodate crisis.”
“I hope we will not lose any fellow journalist in the territories of war”
Having drawn attention to the fact that the scientific and academic approach to embedded journalism has displayed a significant development in Turkey during the past 5-6 years, Mutanoğlu emphasised that the times when reporters only took their bags and went to the territories of war have now changed.
Having said, “War has touched life so much and come down to streets in recent years that such a change has become a must,” Mutanoğlu kept speaking as follows:
“The work is being now carried out more professionally. In the past, when people went to a territory of war, they did not go there in such a prepared manner. Now, they are provided with a serious training. For instance, the News Academy within the Anadolu Agency provides embedded journalism training with completely scientific data three times a year. We organise this in cooperation with the law enforcement department. Both professional experience is shared within the scope of training and we teach the clues of survival in a scientific manner. We teach ‘What will you do when a bomb explodes close to you? What will you do when you are kidnapped?’ For instance, such a war as the Syrian war has not been experienced anywhere else in the world. Different groups may kidnap you at different locations. You meet different flags at intervals of 5-10 kilometres. We psychologically and technically teach what you have to do in such situations. I hope we will not lose any fellow journalists in the territories of war. They do not have any weapons. What they have is only their cameras, movie cameras or microphones.”
Mutanoğlu stated that Sarp Özer, who was wounded while observing the Olive Branch Operation in the previous days, was one of the experienced reporters of AA and that he gained significant experience during the urban fights of PKK in the southeastern cities. He further added that the reporter had managed to survive in the Afrin countryside thanks to his experience as well as the training.
TRT Deputy General Manager Durdu: It is a dangerous job which requires so great a self-sacrifice
TRT Deputy General Manager Erkan Durdu also stated that they were living in a geography in which the history of humanity was re-written.
Having stated that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) made great efforts in order to prevent the civilians from getting harmed while clearing the terrorist elements at Afrin, Durdu told that they -TRT- tried to make the whole world know these progresses.
Having emphasised that journalism is a work of brevity, Durdu spoke as follows: “Every kind of journalism is hard, but embedded journalism is even further hard. For it is a matter of life and death. You cannot foresee what will happen to you a few moments later. For you are not a soldier and your security has not been insured as much as that of soldiers. You look at the battlefront behind a visor and have no protection. While everyone protects and watch for one another, you struggle for providing the world with the best view, leaving your life aside. You remember neither your child nor your wife nor your friend nor your life at that moment. It is a dangerous job which requires so great a self-sacrifice.”
TRT World Director Fatih Er related that embedded journalism was a title which could be gained by working in territories of war for many years and said that he could therefore not call himself an embedded journalist.
Having stated that he was a reporter who had been to territories of combat, Er shared the distress he had experienced in the territories of war.
“An area which is pleasant as much as a hard one”
Journalist Mete Çubukçu emphasised that war had been going on in the region since the 1990s and that some things which looked bad for people might be good for journalist in the sense of news.
Having related that embedded journalism was a pleasant area as much as a hard one, Çubukçu spoke as follows: “Embedded journalism is an area in which one feels human. For you are alone with your conscience and the news.”
Hasan Kalyoncu University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Edibe Sözen related that embedded journalism was one of the most important aspects of this distressed world while almost everything became hard to the full extent.
Having pointed out that the concepts of “conscience”, “human” and “ethics” which journalism tried to teach were indispensable for them, Sözen said, “However, current deficit unfortunately keeps being conscience, human and ethics in the global media. We will perhaps present a new concept of journalism to the global media within the framework of these programmes. Our media organisations are putting their heart and soul in order to achieve this. These organisations are trying to prevent disinformation within the scope of the Olive Branch Operation -thanks to their publications/broadcasts. I would therefore thank them.”