Zehra Doğan: “Continue to write the news, without fear”

TJU administrators met with imprisoned journalist Zehra Doğan. Doğan said, “One understands the value of journalism better in prison,” and urged her colleagues on the outside to continue to write the news without fear.

Turkish Journalists Union (TJU) administrators regularly visit imprisoned journalists. The TJU also visited imprisoned journalist Zehra Doğan in the Diyarbakır Type E Prison.

Artist and journalist Zehra Doğan stated that she will be in prison for 11 more months and added that the conditions in prison have deteriorated much further after the State of Emergency.

Doğan said there are 15 people in her ward: “We were singing a song in Kurdish. The administration considered it a slogan and issued communication bans to all of us. That is why I haven’t received any letters in two months.”


Doğan said the administration doesn’T give her the paints, papers, brushes and other supplies sent to her so she can paint, and said the following on the prison conditions: “When the supplies are not delivered, I try to paint using other methods. When I don’t have paper, I use newspapers. I use red cabbage for purple, and sometimes blood or sometimes pommegranates for red. For green, I crush up parsley or other herbs. The prison administration says the paintings are dangerous. How can crushing up herbs be dangerous? They took some 20 paintings I made on newspapers, napkins and milk cartons and told me they destroyed them. Why? If there is contraband, they should put it in storage and give it back when I’m released. Then, they don’t allow any books as there could be ‘coded communications’. That is a huge issue.”


Doğan said they can read the Cumhuriyet and Evrensel newspapers in prison, but sometimes they receive other papers as well. She urged her coleagues on the outside to continue to write the news without fear and gave the following message:

“One understands the value of journalism better in prison. We can see better from prison that the true journalists do a truly difficult job. Because we can see that the other articles are not news. We think the people who do write the true news could be arrested or killed at any moment and say, ‘This journalist is out of their mind, but should continue to write the truth and shock us and society.’ For us the imprisoned, it is like a ritual to read true news articles. When papers like Cumhuriyet, Evrensel and Özgürlükçü Demokrasi where we can read the true news arrive, we read them out loud every day in turns. When the articles are read, everybody stays silent and listens. That is why true journalists and the true news are so important.”