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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Turkey new 24/7 television channel seeks to be voice of women

by Zeynep Cermen ISTANBUL Turkey (Xinhua) -- A TV channel dedicated to women was launched recently in Istanbul amid a gloomy picture for the second sex in Turkey, with a pledge to be "the rising voice of women from every segment of society and in every field of life."

As the country’s first, Woman TV seeks to become a new platform for women to freely discuss a wide range of issues with experts and get informed, said Ahu Ozyurt, editor-in-chief of the broadcaster.

For Ozyurt, the timing of the channel’s launch is right at the moment when women’s voices need to be heard in a more specific way not only in Turkey but also across the globe.

A woman in Turkey is usually associated with a never-dropping rate of violence, including sexual assault, homicide, as well as inequality in society.

According to womenhomicide.com, a total of 363 women have been murdered by their male partners, husbands or family members across Turkey this year, while 86 percent of the females have encountered physical or psychological violence once in their life.

"We see Turkish media outlets give less and less airtime to successful women, female opinion leaders, women’s health issue and children issues," Ozyurt told Xinhua.

"We see women are becoming less and less visible on mainstream televisions," she continued.

"There was a huge need for an expert channel on women issues."

In her view, Turkish women love watching TV, but there are not many channels catering to them.

Ozyurt believes that women should have more options, like being able to keep a favorite channel open all the time in their homes.

Woman TV is on the air for eight hours daily for the moment, starting with programs on the health of women and children.

"We attribute significant importance to health issues, as we think it is where the notion of families starts," explained Ozyurt.

In the afternoon, the channel turns to political and social issues, including the growing violence against women and other annoyances in their everyday life.

"Later in the day, we deal with more stylish issues like makeup, hair and fashion with a little bit of fun and shows," said Ozyurt.

As the producer of the channel’s "Woman’s Agenda" program, Ebru Gungor discusses with experts various social topics related to women, including divorce, violence and underrepresentation in politics.

"Of course the major issue of our program is violence against women, which is the core problem of our society," she said.

"There are too many victims who do not know what to do or where to go in case of such an experience."

Women can join the program to share their bitter experiences and ask for assistance or protection from the authorities.

According to the editor-in-chief, the target audience is women from the growing middle class.

"We also have the tendency to appeal to the conservative and upper-middle-class women," said Ozyurt.

"But at least, we want to make all watch and see something familiar to themselves, like food, nutrition or a health issue," she noted.

"If we keep them watching 15 minutes, it is a good start for us."

Ozyurt is hoping for her channel to grow beyond the border to go on the air in other countries one day, including in neighboring Syria.

In the view of Mine Kara, a university student, it is very important for Turkey to have such a TV channel dedicated to women only.

"I hope it could reach the most suppressed women in our society and be their voice as well," she said.

             

 

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