The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Europe's largest
organisation of journalists, today sends a strong support to its
journalists affiliates in Turkey following a two-day conference to defend
press freedom and freedom of speech.
"There is no real freedom of speech in Turkey", says Arne König, EFJ
president. "During these two days, we have witnessed many examples of
journalists and media workers being intimidated and the control public
authorities exercise over the media. Our colleagues can no longer work
under such pressure. Turkey must give evidence of its commitment towards
freedom of speech in its negotiations for EU membership and take concrete
steps to protect press freedom." said König.
To date, 29 journalists are detained in Turkey. Many of them have not
been brought to trial. Many provisions of the
criminal and anti terror laws provide public authorities, the police and
the army with multiple means to silence the press says the
EFJ. Despite the deletion of the reference to "attacks
against Turkishness" article 301 of the criminal code
still contains provisions that are used to censor the press.
The right to collectively bargain is narrowly limited and only
applies in companies where unions represent more than
50% of the workforce.
" Journalists' unions should be able to bargain collectively with
media employers. Current rules should be lessen so that it becomes easier
to bargain. This is our priority." said Ercan Ipekçi, president of the Turkish Union of Journalists TGS.
Since mid-February an ongoing strike at the Sabah newspaper
and ATV television highlight the need for the right
to negotiate collective agreements in the
workplace. The EFJ joined its affiliates in a demonstration in central
Istanbul on 2 May to denounce the absence of collective bargaining in the
two media, both owned by the Turkuvaz Media Group.
The EFJ and TGS are part of a joint project to strengthen press
freedom in Turkey which will support a series of activities
to strengthen press freedom in the