Washington, D.C. — Two Voice of America journalists were assaulted in Turkey while on assignment Wednesday, June 8.
VOA Turkish contributing reporter Mahmut Bozarslan was shooting video in Midyat, Turkey, the scene of a car bombing Wednesday, when a group of young people demanded that he stop filming. The gang beat and kicked Bozarslan, and broke his camera. He was hospitalized with injuries to his head and body.
VOA Kurdish contributing reporter Hatice Kamer also was covering the bombing, when she was approached by a group of men who demanded that she stop shooting video. She refused and identified herself as a VOA reporter. The gang then attacked Kamer with rocks. Kamer also sustained head injuries and was hospitalized.
“The attacks on Voice of America journalists are unacceptable,” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said. “We condemn the violence against our reporters. We demand that the Turkish government bring these attackers to justice and ensure the safety of all journalists working in Turkey. This intimidation will not deter VOA from its mission to report the truth.”
“The Broadcasting Board of Governors calls on Turkish authorities to enforce the rule of law with respect to these attacks,” BBG CEO and Director John F. Lansing said. “The people of Turkey deserve unfettered access to the reliable news and information. We will not tolerate violence against our journalists.”
Kamer and Bozarslan were reporting on a car bombing outside a police station in Midyat, near the Syrian border. A police officer and two civilians were killed and at least 30 others were wounded in the blast, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who blamed Kurdish militants for the attack.
Voice of America reaches a global weekly audience of more than 311.8 million people in 47 languages. VOA programs are delivered on satellite, cable, shortwave, FM, medium wave, streaming audio and video and more than 2,350 media outlets worldwide. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.
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