26 August 2021

Certificates Presented to Azerbaijani Journalists Who Completed the 18th Term of the War Journalism Training

Certificates were presented to 22 Azerbaijani press members who attended the 18th term of the “War Journalism Training,” held by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), Anadolu Agency (AA), and the Turkish National Police Academy.

The certificate presentation ceremony of the “18th War Journalism Training,” organized as part of TİKA’s Journalism Training Program (MEP) with the support of the Media Development Agency of Azerbaijan to train operational correspondents who will cover wars, disasters, and emergencies, was held at the Gölbaşı campus of the Turkish National Police Academy.

The ceremony was attended by Mehmet Aktaş, Director-General of Security; Serdar Karagöz, Chairman and Director-General of AA; Prof. Yılmaz Çolak, President of the Turkish National Police Academy; and Uğur Tanyeli, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations and Partnerships at TİKA.

Director-General Aktaş stated that they strengthened cooperation in every field with the understanding of “one nation and two states” and hosted 22 press members working in Azerbaijan, a “friendly and sister country,” on the occasion of the program.

Stressing the importance of ensuring safety under extraordinary conditions while informing the public, Aktaş noted that press members play a critical role in preventing the success achieved in the field from being overshadowed by black propaganda and malicious perception operations.

Aktaş underlined that correspondents are obliged to inform the public at the expense of their lives not only during wars and crises, but also during natural disasters, such as forest fires, floods, and earthquakes. He said, “Therefore, since you tell the truth to the world, which is a very important duty, you have been trained not only in war journalism but also in survival skills in this program. Information and experiences on how press members do their jobs in case of emergencies, how they can ensure their own safety, and how to provide accurate and quality news to the world were shared. So far, 399 press members have been trained in 26 different topics, including journalism, personal safety, the law of war, first aid, advanced driving techniques, surviving in water, chemical and biological attacks, and media management in emergencies. At the end of the training, the participants were presented the internationally-recognized War Journalism Certificates. The training courses also facilitate international cooperation and experience sharing and contribute to professional development.”

– 422 press members are being held captive in the region.

Serdar Karagöz, Chairman and Director-General of AA, informed the audience about the number of press members who died on the job.

Karagöz noted that it is very difficult to report news stories from the field, and said, “We may get carried away while trying to capture the action. We may follow the news story without thinking about what will happen next. Our colleagues who feel that enthusiasm sometimes lose their lives or become captives.”

Karagöz noted that according to the report of the International Press Institute (IPI), more than 30 journalists have been killed in Afghanistan, 455 have been killed in Iraq since 2003, 14 were killed in Libya from 2011 to 2019, and 46 have been killed in Palestine due to Israeli attacks. He added that 4 journalists from AA lost their lives during the Syrian War.

Karagöz stated that journalists have a higher on-the-job fatality rate than any other occupational group, except for soldiers and police officers, but that they would continue to tell the truth to the world, photograph massacres, and fight for the truth, despite those who are disturbed by their news stories.

Stressing that journalists working in this region should receive such training, Karagöz said, “In this program, we have designed full-fledged training courses with the aim of ensuring that our journalists are able to survive under any condition and fulfill their duties perfectly. As AA News Academy, we have trained hundreds of journalists affiliated with our Agency or other domestic or foreign media organizations, as part of the certificate program we have been conducting since 2012 in partnership with the Turkish National Police Academy with the support of TİKA. The War Journalism Certificate Program has moved beyond the borders of Turkey to the international arena since the very beginning.”

– “The number of journalists who escaped danger shows the importance of the training.”

Prof. Yılmaz Çolak, President of the Turkish National Police Academy, stated that they were nearing the first anniversary of the Nagorno-Karabakh Victory, in which Azerbaijan regained control of its own territory after 30 years of longing. He said, “Our General Directorate has so far held 2,506 training courses for a total of 41,976 trainees from foreign police forces in 84 countries. These numbers are very high. Even during the COVID-19 outbreak, which affected our country and the entire world, we continued to carry out training activities and held 8 online training courses for a total of 408 trainees from 24 countries and an international organization. Currently, the 6th United Nations International Riot Control Training, which we are holding at our campus in partnership with the United Nations with the support of TİKA and the participation of 34 trainees from 15 countries, is in full swing.”

Çolak pointed out that together with the 22 trainees attending the ceremony, they had trained a total of 399 people from 39 countries including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, and Uzbekistan until then. He said, “This training program focuses on 26 topics, such as the law of war, first aid, advanced driving techniques, hostage-taking, and positioning at checkpoints. Surely, the aim of the training is to ensure that journalists are able to do their jobs not only during wars, but also during all emergencies and natural disasters, such as fires and floods.”

– "We think that these training activities will help Azerbaijan to explain its just cause to the world."

Uğur Tanyeli, Head of the Department of Foreign Relations and Partnerships at TİKA, stressed that as TİKA, they included the media sector in their training activities to strengthen their relations and ensure technical cooperation in friendly and sister countries.

He noted that they had scheduled the training courses immediately after the 44-day Karabakh War, which ended in victory, but that they could only hold it in that month due to the post-war conditions in Azerbaijan and the pandemic restrictions in Turkey.

Tanyeli said, “Hopefully, the training provided to you here will help Azerbaijan to explain its just cause to the world. We hope that this training will help you practice your profession under peaceful conditions without any wars.”

Arif Hasanov, an Azerbaijani camera operator, said that he was happy to be in Ankara.

Hasanov stated that the training courses made significant contribution to his professional life and that he learned many new things.

Certificates were presented to journalists at the end of the speeches.

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