The decision concerned hundreds of journalists who found out today that the Directorate General of Press and Information in Prime Ministry’s Office had cancelled their press cards, when they received their cards received their press cards with a “cancelled” stamp inside the back cover. Without their press cards, the media workers cannot do their work.
Most of the journalists who had their cards revoked work for independent media or those critical of the government , such as Evrensel daily. Chairman of the TGS, who is the deputy director of this newspaper, Gökhan Durmuş, is among the affected journalists.
The IFJ and EFJ understand that some of them tried to contact the Press Council for explanations of the cancellations, without success . Press cards allow journalists to cover public events and access institutions for reporting.
Turkish journalists' unions have criticised the current press cards renewal mechanism, which is run by a governmental body with no media professionals’ representatives.
DİSK Basın union said: “We have been criticizing that the press cards can only be authorized by a committee which is not impartial. We need a committee formed only by journalism organizations -with the absence of state representatives. Today, the commission has evidenced it cannot operate with neutrality after its decision of cancelling dissident journalists press cards”.
TGS also condemned the decision claiming that “it will have a negative impact on the citizens’ right to access to information and journalists' ability to do their jobs freely.”
The Turkish government media crackdown became widespread since the failed coup attempt in July 2016. Authorities have arrested dozens of journalists and closed down hundreds of media outlets under the pretext of an anti-coup purge.
The IFJ and EFJ stand in solidarity with their affiliated organisations and with all the Turkish journalists who face daily repression from the state for simply doing their job. The two organisations have called for the creation of an independent press committee to manage press cards renewals without bias.