EFJ Backs "Decisive" Mass Protests in Istanbul for Press Freedom on 3 March

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its Turkish affiliate the Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS) today backed the demonstration due to take  place tomorrow 3 March in Istanbul to defend press freedom in Turkey.
"Given the grave situation of press freedom in Turkey, a popular support to denounce the systematic violation of journalists' rights is now decisive," said EFJ President Arne König. "It is sad but also encouraging that the anniversary of detention of journalists provides an opportunity for people on the street to ask for justice".
A mass protest will be held in Istanbul on the one year anniversary of the detention of Turkish investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, while around 100 journalists are currently detained in Turkish prisons and hundreds of court cases are pending. Sik and Sener will have been behind bars for one year already on 3 March 2012 because of the ODA TV case which became one of the most symbolic cases about freedom of press in Turkey. The third hearing of the case will be held on 12 March 2012.
Another demonstration will take place on the same day in Istanbul organised by the Friends of Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan to mark the first anniversary of their solitary confinement. The two have been in jail for four years now and they are still awaiting a verdict in their case.
The TGS and the Freedom for Journalists Platform (FJP) are supporting both events.
Last November a mission of international journalists and media organisations visited Turkey to witness the deteriorating state of press freedom and EFJ representatives attended the trials of journalists in recent weeks. The EFJ also launched a campaign among its affiliates to "adopt a journalist" in jail, literally to communicate with him or her, provide moral support, publicise his/her case and ask for his/her liberation. Currently nearly 10 journalists in jail have been adopted by a journalists' union.
The EFJ also calls European institutions to keep the pressure on the Turkish authorities for the respect of the rule of law and press freedom standards.
The protest will begin tomorrow at 11.00 AM in Taksim Square and will end in Galatasaray Square where a press release will be read out.
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200