Turkey. Concern about media freedom from 6 watchdogs
The document follows an international press freedom mission. It’s signed by AAC, IPI, Article 19, Swedish PEN, RSF, AEJ, ECPMF
LEIPZIG March 7, 2017 – Following an international press freedom mission to Turkey on 7 February to 2 March 2017, six international free expression watchdog organisations express severe concern about media freedom and respect for human rights and warn that the country’s democracy is under threat.
The report is signed by Steven M. Ellis, Director of Advocacy and Communications, International Press Institute (IPI), Sandy Bremner, Representative, IPI UK National Committee; Managing Editor for the Northeast and Northern Isles, BBC Scotland, Georgia Nash, Programme Officer, ARTICLE 19,
Anna Livion Ingvarsson, Secretary General, Swedish PEN, Sophie Busson, Advocacy Advisor, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Erol Onderoglu, Turkey Representative, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Otmar Lahodynsky, President, Association of European Journalists (AEJ); European Editor, Profil Michelle Trimborn, PR and Communications Officer, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF).
The organisations call turkish authorities with recommendations and also call on foreign governments to support the request with specific commitments.
The mission came in response to an ongoing purge by Turkey’s government in the wake of a failed 15 July 2016 coup attempt that traumatized the country. Hundreds of thousands have been dismissed from jobs or detained under wide-ranging emergency powers granted after the coup attempt.
This includes some 155 journalists and media workers behind bars, 125 of whom have been arrested since the coup attempt. Most were detained for alleged support of terrorists on shifting, contradictory and illogical accusations that relate to their criticism of government officials or policy.
Journalists held for months in pre-trial detention are punished without conviction, having been presented with no indictments illuminating the charges or evidence against them. Instead, they face arbitrary limits on outside contact and interference with the right to mount a legal defence.
These developments cast doubt on judicial independence and rule of law, and are compounded by the Constitutional Court’s failure to review detentions and remedy rights violations.
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