ECPMF Coordinator: Press freedom is experiencing its worst period

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ISTANBUL - Stating that Turkey is experiencing its worst period in terms of press freedom, ECPMF Monitoring Coordinator Gürkan Özturan said: "We call on Turkey to remove the obstacles to media freedom and freedom of expression." 

At least 894 journalists have been arrested since AKP came to power in 2002. After the military uprising on July 15, 2016, pressure on opposition and Kurdish journalists increased. 145 journalists were arrested in 2016, and this number increased to 206 in 2017. According to 2023 data of the Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG), 42 journalists are being held in prison, while many journalists are being tried on the grounds of their professional activities. European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) Monitoring Coordinator Gürkan Özturan evaluated the pressures on journalists.
 
'THERE IS A NEED FOR LEGAL REGULATION'
 
Stating that Turkey is experiencing its worst period in terms of press freedom, Özturan stated that most of the square is broadcasting from a single point of view. Özturan said: “This negatively affects media pluralism and media literacy in society. The country where the most journalists are arrested in the world is Turkey. When we look at the ambiguous expressions in the laws, distortions in practices and coercive practices, we can say that the legal level is problematic. Lower courts do not recognize the decisions of the Constitutional Court (AYM). Despite the canceled articles of the law, it initiates an investigation based on the same articles. When we ask the journalists we support within the scope of Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), they express their opinion that legal regulations should be made in the country. Therefore, there is an urgent need for legal regulations.”
 
'KURDISH MEDIA IS BEING TARGETED'
(ECPMF Monitoring Coordinator Gürkan Özturan)
 
Pointing out that the Kurdish media is constantly targeted, “After the short period (2013-2015) called the peace process, the Kurdish press became a target again. These ongoing practices are a major obstacle to the right to receive information, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Turkey. Seeing reporters as illegal political actors and making accusatory statements hurts the entire society. Oppression hinders democratization processes. Media freedom in the country is closely related to social peace, economic development and general welfare levels. This is actually an issue that every citizen should be concerned about in many respects" Özturan said.
 
Referring to the Map of Media Freedom data, Özturan noted that 118 Kurdish media workers suffered rights violations in 2022. Özturan pointed out that the majority of the attacks consisted of legal violations and said: “Esra Solin Dal, Mehmet Aslan and Erdoğan Alayumat are the closest examples of ongoing oppression. In the declarations we have published, we have always underlined that no journalist can be held behind bars as a result of their reporting activities. Upon this latest example, we, as 27 international media freedom organizations, called on Turkey to end the pressure on journalists."
 
'MEDIA WORKERS ARE RESPONSIBLE'
 
Stating that media workers also have a great responsibility, Özturan said: “First of all, journalists and media workers need to report every case that happens to them to the relevant institutions. Professional organizations that detect these cases should compile the data and lead the social debate in the light of the prominent developments. As international institutions, we frequently carry out activities such as joint statements, reports, delegation visits, and follow-up hearings regarding violations and negative developments in Turkey. If political groups that follow the results and recommendations in their reports want to work on a draft law based on this, we are open to giving their opinions. We reiterate our call on Turkey to remove obstacles to media freedom and freedom of expression."
 
MA / Ferdi Bayram
 

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