Hürriyet daily condemned for false report on penguin's headscarf

Hürriyet has also drawn criticism from press organizations for failing to comply with principles of journalism.

Hürriyet daily condemned for false report on penguin's headscarf

World Bulletin / News Desk

The loyalty of Hürriyet daily to the principles of journalism has come into question after the daily published a news report early this week unjustly accusing Timaş Publishing of making the female characters of “The Little Penguins” wear headscarves in its Turkish translation.

The daily said, in a March 12 dated article, that Timaş made the female penguins in “The Little Penguins” book wear a headscarf, adding that this book is among the source books for first graders.

Quoting some experts, the article said exposing little children to such images will make them have positive views about wearing headscarves and that it is very wrong to manipulate original texts when translating.

Hürriyet's article was also published in other media outlets such as Sözcü, BirGün, Gerçek Gündem newspapers and OdaTV, SoLHaber news portals.

Yet, a press statement made by Timaş Publishing later in the week that included the images of the original and translated texts showed the female penguins are also wearing headscarves in the original version.

In its statement, Timaş said the book in question was translated from English into Turkish without any distortion and using the same images.

Timaş said Hürriyet's article recalled similar defamation campaigns against religious people during the days of the Feb. 28, 1997 military coup when the Turkish military forced a coalition government to resign on the grounds that there was rising fundamentalism in the country and the media prepared the psychological environment for this with its manipulative articles against pious people.

“As Timaş Publishing, whose books are sold across 25 countries and which represents Turkish publishing in every part of the world, we condemn this attack with our around 1,000 writers who have contributed to the intellectual life of our country with their more than 3,000 books,” said the statement.

Hürriyet daily's readers' representative Faruk Bildirici wrote about the issue on Thursday, which he described as a “serious mistake of journalism.”

He said there is nothing to defend about Hürriyet's article, which turned out to be based on incorrect information.

Bildirici noted that in addition to interviewing experts, Hürriyet's reporter should have also asked the Timaş Publishing about the claims but failed to do so.

He also criticized Timaş Publishing for accusing the daily of launching an organized defamation campaign against the publishing company and associating the article with the Feb. 28 mentality. He said such accusations against Hürriyet are "unjust."

Hürriyet has also drawn criticism from press organizations for failing to comply with principles of journalism.

Münir Üstün, president of the Press Publishing Union, said in a press statement on Friday that the reporter who wrote the controversial article failed to confirm their claims by asking the source.

He said Hürriyet's article is aimed to create psychological pressure on headscarf-wearing women and create a superficial environment of conflict in the society over those women.

Although the majority of women wear a headscarf in Turkey, there has been a lot of pressure and prohibition on headscarf-wearing women until recently. Only in 2010 were these women allowed to go to university without the need to take off their scarves, yet they are still banned from working at public institutions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Mart 2013, 15:45