Lawmakers recognize Kurdish Journalism Day in honor of first Kurdish newspaper started in 1898

The front page of the first Kurdish newspaper printed in Cairo, Egypt in 1898. (Photo: Archive)
The front page of the first Kurdish newspaper printed in Cairo, Egypt in 1898. (Photo: Archive)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Wednesday marked the 123th anniversary of the publication of the first Kurdish-language newspaper.

“On the occasion of Kurdish Journalism Day and the first issue of (Kurdistan) newspaper 123 years ago, which coincides with the anniversary of the establishment of the Kurdistan Journalists Syndicate, I extend my warmest congratulations to all journalists and media professionals in Kurdistan,” Barzani said in a statement.

“The Kurdistan Region, with pride, worked on further applying the principles of press freedom and democracy, and has always been enthusiastically keen to provide an appropriate environment for journalism,” Barzani added.

Though the occasion has been observed for years, the regional parliament in Erbil announced that day that it had passed a resolution officially recognizing April 22 as Kurdish Journalism Day, to “recognize the vital role of newspapers & journalism in protecting and developing language, culture, & national sentiment.” 

Barzani continued, “On this anniversary, we look with high respect and appreciation to the struggle, and resistance of the pioneering journalists from the first generation in Kurdistan, who served the Kurdish press and defended the rights of the people of Kurdistan.”

“The current phase requires real and professional journalism more than ever before,” he claimed, stressing that journalists in the autonomous region "are required to adhere to the law and ethics of the profession ... so that they can do their best to deal responsibly with their occupation, in a way which serves the interest of nationwide goals.”

April 22 is the anniversary of the first Kurdish newspaper that was printed in Cairo, Egypt in 1898, by Miqdad Medhat Bedirkhan. It was printed at the time when Cairo was still part of the greater Ottoman Empire and launched a new era of Kurdish struggle for political and cultural freedom.

Editing by John J. Catherine