The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European regional group, the European Federation of Journalists, today condemned the killing of Cihan Hayirsevener, the editor-in-chief of a newspaper engaged in exposing corruption, who was shot dead while leaving his office on Friday.
“This journalists’s death is further evidence that courageous investigative journalism is ever more in the firing line,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Turkey must act quickly to find the killers and bring them to justice.”
Hayirsevener, whose newspaper Guney Marmara'da Yasam (Life in Southern Marmara) has been a platform for exposing corruption in the region around the western town of Bandirma, had been issued with death threats because of his work. These followed his writings about the detention of people suspected of corruption in a construction tender.
“This is a tragedy for journalism both in Turkey and the region,” said White. “The impact of this killing goes beyond deep personal loss and strikes at the heart of free expression rights and the quality of democratic exchange in Turkey.”
The killing adds to a heavy year of violence against journalists and also puts Turkey in the spotlight. European journalists’ leaders prepare for a ground-breaking meeting of the European Federation of Journalists which will hold its first General Meeting in Istanbul in April 2010 and discuss the challenges for media freedom in Turkey.
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries around the world