Freedom of expression weekly bulletin 13.07.26 30

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The 24th of July is the anniversary of the first uncensored newspapers published and is celebrated as Press Freedom Day. On the 25th of July 1908, during the Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire, nNewspapers were published for the first time according to the preference of journalists rather than the censorship officers. on 25 July 1908 during Constitutional Era of Ottoman Empire. Upon the suggestion of journalist and writer Refik Halid Karay, the 24th of July was started being celebrated as “Press Day” sincefor 22 years beginning from 1948, until the intervention of the Turkish Armed Forces which gavegiving Cevdet Sunay, then president of the republic, Cevdet Sunay a memorandum on 12 March 1971 forcing the government to resign. Following this incident resembled an army coup, the Journalists' Association of Turkey decided to changed the celebration title from “Press Day” to “Press Freedom Day”, which continues up until now.
. Therefore, 24th of July has been celebrated as “Press Freedom Day” rather than “Press Day” since 1971.
But isIf that’s so, is press freedom effectual in Turkey after 42 years? Let’s seek the answer in the Imprisoned Journalists’ Report, prepared by the MP’s of the Republican People’s Party.

• The number of the journalists imprisoned and released since from the beginning of 2009 is already 120.
• Today there areThere are still 70 journalists in prison and tens of thousands of cases and inquiries concerning more than 500 journalists.
• There are dozens of journalists on trial forwith the demand of life sentence in solitary confinement, without the and with no possibility of parole for 500 years. for 500 years each.
• All cases filed against journalists feature a “legal organization link” (is there a better translation for this?) claim within the meaning of Anti-terror Law and Turkish Criminal Code.
• Basic news reporting activities, such as assigning a journalists to a for a story and, sharing intelligence with colleagues, are described as acts of terror acts in the indictments.
• In all cases, statements of specific opinions and, possessing specific books, newspapers and, magazines were counted as crimes elements.
• Long periods of argumentation (what do you mean by this?) and imprisonment are also common among journalists.

To sum up iTo sum up, n the words ofremembering Marx words saying “the pPress in general terms is a realizationfulfillment of freedom of human freedom”, and hence it is obvious that Turkey has far to go to implement this.

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Freedom of expression weekly bulletin 13.07.26 30

  1. 1. Think, think... Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin (Issue 30/13, 26 July 2013) What happened last week? (19-26 July 2013) The 24th of July is the anniversary of the first uncensored newspapers published and is celebrated as Press Freedom Day. On the 25th of July 1908, during the Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire, newspapers were published for the first time according to the preference of journalists rather than the censorship officers. Upon the suggestion of journalist and writer Refik Halid Karay, the 24th of July was celebrated as “Press Day” since 1948, until the intervention of the Turkish Armed Forces which gave Cevdet Sunay, then president of the republic, a memorandum on 12 March 1971 forcing the government to resign. Following this incident, the Journalists' Association of Turkey changed the celebration title from “Press Day” to “Press Freedom Day”, which continues up until now. But is press freedom effectual in Turkey after 42 years? Let’s seek the answer in the Imprisoned Journalists’ Report, prepared by MPs of the Republican People’s Party. • The number of journalists imprisoned and released since 2009 is already 120. • Today there are 70 journalists in prison and tens of thousands of cases and inquiries concerning more than 500 journalists. • There are dozens of journalists on trial for life sentence in solitary confinement, without the possibility of parole for 500 years. • All cases filed against journalists feature a “legal organization link” claim within the Anti-terror Law and Turkish Criminal Code. • Basic news reporting activities, such as assigning journalists to a story and sharing intelligence with colleagues, are described as acts of terror in the indictments. • In all cases, statements of specific opinions and possessing specific books, newspapers and magazines were counted as crimes. • Long periods of argumentation and imprisonment are also common among journalists. To sum up in the words of Marx “the press in general is a realization of human freedom”, and hence it is obvious that Turkey has far to go to implement this.
  2. 2. Journalists’ discussion of press freedom in Turkey The Freedom for Journalists Platform of Turkey carried out the 2nd Freedom for Journalists Congress on 24 July in Istanbul. Press organizations participated in the event along with journalists on trial, their close relations and lawyers, and representatives of international press organizations. The chairman of the Turkish Journalists Union, Ercan İpekçi, stated at the opening: The media in Turkey is blind and deaf to the incidents inside, yet it follows the outside closely: it is like prison walls. The media in Turkey unfortunately has not stood beside the unjustly treated journalists. We are working hard to be in the agenda of the country with a few occupational groups and a few imprisoned journalists. During this press freedom struggle, media executives were the first ones to get cold feet and stop talking. Then they put editorial departments to silence. The conclusive report of the congress stated that journalists demanded independent judicial processes and those in prison to be released. “Turkey is the world’s largest prison for journalists” The Republican People’s Party released the Imprisoned Journalists Report, which enclosed information gathered from face to face interviews and letters of imprisoned reporters, distributers, columnists. According to the report, as of April 2013 there are 65 journalists arrested, found guilty and in prison. The report stated that “comparing the period of the 12 September Coup when 31 journalists were arrested, Turkey is in a much worse position. On the international stage, Turkey is the world’s
  3. 3. largest prison for journalists”. In the conclusion of the report, it is suggested that the “Anti-terror Law be radically rearranged and the restrictive articles of the Turkish Law Code abrogated.” Turkish Journalists’ Union: 59 journalists dismissed and forced to resign The Istanbul branch of the Turkish Journalists’ Union announced that 22 journalists were dismissed and 37 journalists were forced to resign. Chairman of the branch Gökhan Durmuş stated that “the media is having one of its darkest days”. Former columnist at Akşam newspaper, Tugçe Tatari, and the former culture & art editor of www.ntmsnbc.com, Hasan Cömert, who lost their jobs during the Gezi resistance, were present at the meeting and shared their experience. Italian photographer charged with 7 years of imprisonment Italian photojournalist Mattia Cacciatori, who was detained on 6th July while following the Gezi resistance, is being charged with “violating the law on public gatherings and demonstrations” and “resisting an officer while acting in the execution of the officer’s duty” with the potential imprisonment of 1 year 2 months to 7 years. Cacciatori made a response about the case saying “Is this a joke? I was just shooting photographs there. These claims are ludicrous!”
  4. 4. 16 Press Freedom Questions addressed to government Melda Onur, the Republican People’s Party’s İstanbul MP, asked Bülent Arınç, Deputy Prime Minister, 16 questions about press freedom. The questions included the international press corporations targeted by government authorities, the journalists injured by the police during the Gezi resistance, press card issues, the restraint of the Governorship of Istanbul to stop journalists marching towards Taksim, Italian photographer Mattia Cacciatori being on trial for imprisonment, the subjection of female journalists to sexual harassment during police raids, and imprisoned journalists. “You should have foreseen the cursing” warning by Radio and Television Supreme Council The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) warned Barış TV of a protester’s words when addressing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on air. RTUK claimed that his “cursing should have been foreseen”, and announced their legal ground as the protester waved a Turkish flag and talked to cameras: “This Tayyip, this Tayyip was in prison for a week, and sent his own son to USA with a private jet.”
  5. 5. Artists criticized Erdoğan with a letter Some of the most important figures of art in the West criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the excessive violence during the Gezi resistance, by putting a full-page advert in The Times, published in the UK on 24 July. The letter reminded Erdogan that Turkey is a member of the European Council and a party of the European Human Rights Convention, and said “Consequently, your orders which led to the deaths of five innocent youths might well constitute a case to answer in Strasbourg.” You may read the letter and the list of signatories here: http://is.gd/zbqaAK Bekir Coskun given a fine of 5000 Turkish Liras Cumhuriyet Newspaper columnist, Bekir Coskun, was given a fine of 5000 Turkish Liras with the accusation of having “attacked Erdoğan’s personal rights” in his article titled “Büyük Devlet Seyi…” (One State Thing…) on 20 September 2012. Coskun told Bianet that the aim was “to punish the adversaries”. Coskun also announced that he would file an appeal. Sabah newspaper dismissed Yavuz Baydar In the latest rounds of media dismissals, Yavuz Baydar has lost his job at Sabah newspaper. After writing an unprinted article quoting reader’s criticisms of the paper’s headline the day after the police intervention at Gezi Park, Baydar was put on compulsory leave. The headline - “Good Morning Gezi” - praised police action during the raid. Following that, Baydar went on leave and wrote an article titled “Media bosses are undermining democracy in Turkey”, published in the
  6. 6. New York Times. In this article published in both English and Turkish, Baydar reviewed the Turkish media from different angles, such as public procurements obtained by media bosses, or the auto-censor tendency of some journalists. Returning from leave, the second article written by Baydar was not published by Sabah and the newspaper announced that he was dismissed on 23 July. Ekşisözlük under attack regarding “Assault on Prophet” claims Eksisözlük, Turkey’s most common dictionary website with 14 million visitors a month, faced a sharp reaction after an entry in May, stating “Mekke’de dogan en büyük ga..t” (The biggest pi..p born in Mecca), even though it was deleted the same day. People reacting to the entry protested the website with #soysuzeksisözlük (low born of eksi sözlük) hashtag. Many websites reported the incident. Law reform for Twitter Minister of Communications, Binali Yıldırım, announced that they have put a law reform on the agenda after Twitter’s demand to open an office in Turkey. Yılmaz claimed that “they say if someone committed a crime aided by their infrastructure Twitter would not be held accountable. So, we take preventive measures to eliminate the concerns.” Yıldırım also declared they would work on law reforms and would convert imprisonments to fine.

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