Women’s group slams sports paper over obscene name choice

June 12, 2012, Tuesday/ 14:40:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

A woman's rights group on Tuesday issued a press statement publicly calling on a newly published sports newspaper to change its name, which corresponds to an acronym used in Turkish social media to stand for profanity.

The sports newspaper AMK is being published as part of the Sözcü newspaper. Its first issue came out on June 9. However, the newspaper attracted attention even prior to its first issue due to the acronym used -- a phrase that includes a vulgar word to refer to female genitalia -- and through its television and publicity ads. The newspaper claims its name comes from the Turkish words for Open (Açık), Manly/Valiant (Mert) and Fearless (Korkusuz) to stand for the initials AMK. Radikal daily sports writer Uğur Vardan and a number of other columnists have already condemned the newspaper for what they say is a tasteless name choice.

The profane phrase is most often used in Turkish not to curse a person but as a sign of protest, frustration or desperation and its use might not come off as highly offensive in informal contexts. However, the Women's Media Monitoring Group (MEDİZ) on Tuesday issued a statement drawing on the literal meaning of the phrase that disparagingly refers to female sexuality, calling on the newspaper to apologize and go for a name change.

“The sports newspaper AMK being published by the Sözcü newspaper, by choosing its name as a rowdy swear word of patriarchal violence and fanaticism, is committing a crime against women. We condemn this mentality of journalism, which women will avoid being part of as employees or readers, and call on those responsible for this name choice to apologize and change the newspaper's name immediately.”

The group also called for a public boycott of the newspaper and the kiosks and sales points carrying it in their assortment.

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