European Journalists Call on Turkish Military to End Use of “Media Black List”

The International Federation of Journalist and its regional group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today called on the Turkish military to stop classifying journalists by their perceived attitude toward the military and using that classification to grant or deny press accreditations.

“We are calling on the Turkish military to immediately stop using this classification system and grant equal access to journalists who wish to cover its activities, regardless of whether they are critical of the military or not,” said EFJ chair Arne König. “It is unethical for them to deny media access to information at their discretion and a blow to press freedom.”

Not only does the preferential treatment raise serious concerns about the access that independent media get to cover the military but it also raises concerns about blacklisted journalists’ security and how they might be treated by the military in the future, the EFJ said.

The report, which is entitled 'A reassessment of accredited press and media organs' and dated November 2006, makes recommendations on whether the media accreditation for certain people should be granted, denied or revoked.

It was prepared by the media relations office that gives accreditation to journalists and media organisations that want to follow the activities of the Office of the Chief of General Staff. The military has not denied the document’s existence but has only launched a judicial probe to discover who leaked the information to the press.

Various media on Thursday published the report, which critiqued newspapers and other media and tallied their positive and negative reports on the military in the first nine months of 2006.

The EFJ is supporting calls from its affiliate, the Turkish Journalists’ Union, to end the preferential treatment for media and ensure equal access to all journalists who cover military news.

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The EFJ represents more than 260,000 journalists in over 30 countries