France 24 praises Kurdistan 24’s progress on third anniversary

“It was amazing to see the development” and that, in the span of just under a year, to get to the point “where K24 was able to go on air [and] move into its own studios.”

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Erbil-based broadcast news station first launched on October 31, 2015 and now with bureaus in multiple foreign countries, Kurdistan 24 is celebrating its third anniversary on Wednesday.

With television programs in both the Sorani and Kurmanji dialects of the Kurdish language and websites also in English, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, the station has set for itself a challenge to provide up-to-date, impartial, and quality information to the broadest possible demographic of the public living both in and outside the region.

Noreldin Waisy, the founder and general manager of the station explained in an interview in 2016 that, even though Kurdistan 24 started its activity in hard times—while the Peshmerga forces were liberating Shingal from the Islamic State (IS) and the region was tackling other geopolitical issues—some of its reports made headlines around the world.

“At one point Kurds had to rely on international media to get updated on the news, even their own news, but now it’s the other way around. International media relies on us to get accurate and timely news,” Waisy said.

“Our team of journalists and technicians at Kurdistan24 strive for the highest possible standards."

At the start of its operations, valuing integrity as much as professionalism, Kurdistan 24 invited a team of trainers from the highly reputed France 24 television station to help with all aspects of its staff's training.

On Tuesday, Kurdistan 24 interviewed members of the France 24 training team in Paris, head of the France 24 Academy Antoine Cormery, Chief Foreign Editor Robert Parsons, and news producer Charles Wente.

They universally praised Kurdistan 24’s progress and its growing reputation, making it seen as a reliable source and used by international media outlets. The three also spoke of their memories taking part in the training program.

“It’s a wonderful memory for me, for the academy – France Media Monde and France 24 – and for all the team of trainers that came to Erbil,” said Cormery.

He added that it has benefitted France 24 as well, saying, “we use your footage."

In the interview with Parsons, he said, “It was amazing to see the development” and that, in the span of just under a year, to get to the point “where K24 was able to go on air [and] move into its own studios on the outskirts Erbil.”

“Even though I wasn’t actually a part of K24, I felt like I was a part of [it],” he added.

“The fact that big channels like France 24, the BBC and others should go to K24 for their information,” Parsons said, “is a really good reflection on what you are doing.”

 One of the critical points discussed at the beginning was that Kurdistan 24 “should be a benchmark for other channels in the region,” so its audience could look to it for honest and accurate reporting, said Parsons.

“Everything we’ve done there has paid off,” said Wente, a France 24 producer who was part of the initiative, training the Kurdistan 24 team. He added that he still keeps in touch with the trainees through social media.

“There were a lot of ambitious… creative people” among the Kurdistan 24 team, he added, and said, “there was an energy beyond what I could have imagined."

“I was very proud to be part of that project."

Editing by John J. Catherine