The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its regional group, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today condemned unreservedly the violence and arrests of journalists that took place during the crackdown on the Taksim Square protesters this weekend.
According to the TGS (Turkish Journalists Syndicate), at least four journalists have been arrested, photographers have had their pictures deleted, and cameramen have been targeted by tear gas and water cannon. In a more sinister move, four TV companies have been fined by the Radio and Television High Council over their reporting of the demonstrations while the Daily Taraf publication has also been banned.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to investigate social media and national media publishing photos on the demonstrations and the violence.
"The Turkish government must stop targeting and intimidating journalists and allow them to report protests without fear and censorship," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We therefore call on the authorities to respect the right of journalists and its citizens to freedom of expression and peaceful demonstration."
In a letter sent to journalists' unions across the world, the IFJ and EFJ condemn unreservedly the brutal attacks on journalists and civilians during the recent crackdown. They urge national governments and European institutions to take immediate actions to stop the crackdown from escalating.
According to the TGS, journalists who were arrested include Ferhat Uludaglar, Gokhan Bicici and Ugur Can all of Dogan News Agency, and Okan Altunkara of IMC TV. The police forcibly deleted the images of photojournalist Cem Turkel of Aksam daily. Meanwhile Turkey has the largest number of journalists in jail, at least 60, and facing prosecution under one of the most draconian anti- terror legislation of in the world.
The IFJ affiliate in Portugal, the Sindicato Dos Jornalistas (SDJ) also accused Turkish Police of assaulting Portuguese journalist Paulo Moura . The union said that Moura was attacked in the Taksim Square despite the fact that he had identified himself to security forces as a journalist.
"The inescapable conclusion of the targeting of journalists, fining of media and public threats of investigations is that the authorities are using all the tools at their disposal to pressure media into censoring their coverage of the events in Taksim Square and Gezi Park," added Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, EFJ President. "The true story behind the events in Turkey can only be revealed if the journalists are allowed to do their job."
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For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries
Journalists' unions around the world has taken actions to expressed their solidarity with journalists in Turkey.
Germany - Ver.di has issued a statement condemning police violence and supporting the democratic in Turkey.
Norway - Norsk Journalistlag has sent a petition letter to the Minstry of Foreign Affairs urging for action on Turkey.
Romania - MediaSind has sent a petition letter to the Prime Minister, Victor Ponta calling for actions to end media clampdown in Turkey.
Belgium - AJP has called on its Prime Minister to take action.
Greece - ESIEMTH has sent a petition letter to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
United Kingdom - NUJ has organised soliarity action on 21 June to support colleagues in Turkey. It has written to David Cameron urging him to contact Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
and stress the need to respect the right of journalists to freedom of
expression guaranteed by European and International law.
Brussels - The EFJ has sent to the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, all members of the European Parliament, Vice-President of the European Parliament and Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Viviane Reding, and Commissioner Stefan Fule for DG Enlargement.
Solidarity actions by international organisations:
ITUC called on its 175 million workers to support the on-going protests in Istanbul's
Taksim square and throughout Turkey. International solidarity actions were organised for 21 and 22 June.