The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) support the I am a journalist #Bengazeteciyim campaign launched by journalists and media freedom advocates from Turkey. European journalists stand in solidarity with their colleagues in Turkey, who fiercely continue their jobs despite facing relentless attacks and attempts to silence them. The support is also extended to the 34 journalists and media workers currently in jail, and to all those arrested for exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom to inform.
I am a journalist!
'Journalism is not a crime.
In Turkey, oppression of the press is getting worse by the day.
Those who are struggling to protect the freedom of press and do their jobs are forced to pay a heavy price.
Journalists reporting from conflict zones are subjected to constant threats and harassment, putting their lives in danger.
Reporters, editors and writers often face criminal investigations, and are prosecuted for defamation charges. Many of them are held in custody awaiting trial and are imprisoned because of their reporting or sharing on social media.
Journalists are easily labeled as enemies of the state and traitors, and prosecuted through accusations such as spying or “spreading propaganda of terrorist organisations.”
Foreign journalists who live and report from Turkey have not been immune to these allegations and targetings. Journalism has come under attack during different periods of Turkish history but members of the international press have never been targeted on this scale.
Journalists in the mainstream media are forced to work in such conditions that they cannot do their jobs properly anymore, and can be easily fired if they question the official government line. Heavy censorship is the norm and critical voices are constantly stigmatized.
The facts are restricted by frequent media blackouts. The media that challenge the blackouts are usually labelled as traitors or even as terrorists and presented as criminals. Various independent media outlets are under permanent threat of being shut down.
People from different sectors of society who show solidarity with journalists to defend press freedom as well as the right to information also become targets of investigation and prosecution.
However these pressures have not stopped tens of journalists from traveling to Diyarbakır from the western cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir this year to show solidarity with their colleagues, who work under immense pressure in conflict zones. They stand together in front of prisons, the courthouses and at news desks.
Protecting freedom of press also means defending the public’s right of access to information.
In a society where the right to information is restricted, one cannot speak of democracy.
Therefore, as journalists we will do everything within our power to be the voice of those who have been marginalized, imprisoned, and silenced for doing their jobs and defending the freedom of press and freedom of access to information for all of us.
As journalists from Turkey, we cry out once again:
Journalism is not a crime!'
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries