Winner of International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award
Hijri 1374-Present (AH); Common Era 1955-Present (CE)
Ayse Önal is a Turkish reporter who has dedicated herself to reporting on Turkish politics, culture, organized crime, and conflicts in the Middle East. She is the author of two books, winner of fourteen Turkish National Press Awards and the International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award. While reporting on the Gulf War, she was arrested and detained in Iraq, threatened by Islamic fundamentalists and put on the revolutionary left's death list. In 1994, Önal was shot and wounded by the Turkish mob because of articles she had written that linked the government to the mob. In response to this, Önal was forced to go into hiding for three months. In 1995, Önal was targeted by a fundamentalist publication because of a report she wrote on peace in the Middle East. The following year, she was warned by the government censorship agency about her television interviews on the Kurdish conflict. In recent years, Önal has been unable to find full-time employment because of the opposition to her work. Additionally, Önal's work Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed revolutionized the viewpoint the Turkish media takes on honor killings. The book stemmed from a TV special Önal worked on. While coverage tended to take the side of the killers and women's rights groups demonized the matter entirely, Önal approached the matter from both ends of the spectrum, with an open ear for the stories of the perpetrators. In response to her work, she was flooded with phone calls from both men and women who were facing related dilemmas.