114th Anniversary of Kurdish Journalism

 On 22 April 2012, Kurds celebrated the 114th anniversary of the first Kurdish newspaper, Kurdistan, which was issued in Egypt by Miqdad Medhet al-Bedirxan. Journalists and writers gathered for the ceremony at the Women Media and Education Centre of Rewan magazine in Sulaymaniya. Among the invitees were Stran Abdullah (Kurdistan Nwe), Dr. Sherko Man Gorie, Yahya Omar and IMCK-director Judit Neurink.

Judit Neurink was invited to join a discussion in the centre about the future of the newspaper (in Kurdistan). The discussion was introduced with remarks such as that Internet is a replacement for the newspaper and that Internet misses the same power as the newspaper. The rise of digital media is of great concern to some for the future of the newspaper. Decreasing revenues through advertising and paper-selling are a big threat to the continuing existence of newspapers. So how can the future of this medium be saved?

Judit Neurink noted two things that are relevant to the Kurdistan region. Firstly, European countries have a greater reading tradition amongst its people than Kurdistan has. Schools incorporate reading of newspapers and discussing the news in their curriculum. In Kurdistan teachers don't spend time on reading newspapers and news. Neurink says: "Newspapers and books should get a bigger part in the educational system in Kurdistan. This will strengthen the reading tradition and the position of the newspaper. It is not the Internet that is causing the drop of newspaper sells. It is the economic recession in Europe."  

Secondly, Kurdish newspapers should find new ways of making money online. Newspapers should, additionally to their paper, give news on their websites. They could show a portion and lock the rest of the information. The customer can buy this article for a small amount. Important to note is that the readers online differ from readers of newspapers: its a totally different target group. But the biggest problem newspapers in Kurdistan face is the absence of the possibility to pay with a credit card. This problem should be fixed first.

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