ARZU GEYBULLA: DON’T BE AFRAID, DON’T GET SILENCED

 

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The count down for our training about “Inclusive Media: Rethinking Journalism Conditions for Women across the Middle East” which will take place in Amman has started and we would like to introduce you one of our trainers, Arzu Geybulla.

Arzu is a regional analyst and correspondent. She is the recipient of 2014 Vaclav Havel Journalism Fellowship with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Her main focus is human rights, press freedom and net freedom. She was featured on BBC 100 Women Changemakers in 2014.

We discussed about the challenges she is facing in training female journalists and we asked her what her expectations from the Inclusive Media project are!

Photo: Berge Arabian

Photo: Berge Arabian

You have been a media trainer for a long time now. What was the most challenging question someone ever asked you and how did you answer?

I have a been a freelance trainer since 2009. The first time I was invited to “teach” was not long after I started my personal blog and so I was asked to share my experience and knowledge of blogging and using social media.

It was an exciting moment in life as it opened a whole new world of “teaching” for me.

I have done training on the use of social media in community activist, political organizing, as well as leadership, public specking, digital security and activism.

The most challenging question I have been asked in the time I have been doing this was probably the one about “motivation”. People in media, social media, activism often get burned out which is absolutely normal and sadly there are no safe places for us to go to “recover”. So for me this has been always challenging because whatever I tell them is what they are going to use as a way to prevent burn out and keep themselves motivated. I often share my personal experience which has been taking a step back, distancing myself for a bit and being in a space I feel is safe and where I can get whatever recovery support I need. Then I get myself together, re-energize and head back into the crazy world of crazy people!

Are there particular challenges in training female journalists?

Working with women has always been fascinating to me. I have done work with women in regions of Azerbaijan. I think this was the most challenging as in how to challenge Azerbaijani men to let Azerbaijani women do what they want and break down stereotypes. And this has mostly been my experience, the gender question, the balance and the equality.

I find women more dedicated and ready to take on any task. And I find this serves as a motivation for myself to continue working with women.

What is your advice for girls who want to become journalist today?

Get a note book, good pen, and go out there and start asking questions. There is no right or wrong question, although the better and tougher your question, the better and interesting the answer will be. Don’t be afraid, don’t get silenced or intimidated by others around you. Start from small stories, your home, your community, maybe a neighbor, a story of an older woman who buys the same bread for 30 years in a local bakery and so on. Stories are fascinating. read, write, share and explore! Oh stay safe, and make sure you know how to protect yourself and so on.

Why did you chose to be a trainer for our Inclusive Media project?

Aside from the fact that I will be meeting some very talented and fearless female journalists, there is also the fact that I can share my experience. And I am going to selfish again and say that I am coming because I have a feeling there will be plenty we could all learn from each other.

Take part online!

We want you to benefit from this training, even if you will not be with us in Amman. So we will livestream both of our panel discussions. They are:

Monday, August 1st from 11:30 – 13:00 am EEST: “Challenges for female journalists across borders”, with Rula Asad, co-founder of the Syrian Female Journalist Network, Lina Ejeilat, Editor-in-chief of 7iber.com and Rana Sabbagh (tbc), Executive Director of Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ).

Tuesday, August 2nd from 09:00 – 10:30 am EEST: “Gender, Risk and Reporting”, with Rana Husseini senior reporter at the Jordan Times; Arzu Geybulla reporter from Azerbaijan; Sara E. Williams, Jordan Correspondent for the Times.

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Inclusive Media was organised by the Inclusive Media team (former Middle East & North Africa Committee of the European Youth Press), the European Youth Press and Daem for Media. 

Inclusive Media was funded by the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF), the German Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa). With the pedagogical support of the Syrian Female Journalist Network (SFJN). 

 
AmmanPascale Müller