Currently in Turkey: online censorship, attacks against media and detention of journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its European organisation, the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ), jointly call on the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to immediately lift all bans against news organisations, protect press freedom (including journalists’ work places) and release all journalists being detained.

According to media reports, the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (TIB) has geographically blocked access to the website of Dicle News Agency (DIHA), dedicated to the coverage of the Kurdish issue.

“This is the eleventh time that free access to the Dicle News Agency’s online version is being blocked based on a request from the Prime minister’s office," explained the press agency. "DIHA continues to publish information using the following addresses: www.diclehaber.com, www.diclehaber.com.tr, www.dihanews.net, www.dihanews.com, www.diclenews.com, www.diclenews.org, www.diclehaber.info, www.diclenews.info, www.dihanews.info, www.dihahaber.info and www.diclehaberajansi.info, but all them have been blocked by the autorities.”

On 6-7 September, Hürriyet daily newspaper’s Istanbul headquarters has been pelted with stones by a group of pro- Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters. Around 150 pro-AKP protesters started to convene in front of Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district hours after a deadly terrorist attack occurred in the Southeastern part of Turkey. The group then attacked security personnel at the outer gate before forcing their way to the door, which they pelted with stones. Protesters chanting pro-AKP slogans retreated after riot police arrived on the scene, reported the newspaper.

“It is the responsibility of the Turkish authorities to guarantee press freedom and the safety of journalists in the country," said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. "The recent attack against Hürriyet’s office, just like the media crack down on the pro-Gülen media, are unacceptable and must be strongly condemned by the Turkish government. The Prime minister’s office should also immediately stop using the new regulation to censor and block access to online media.”

“We fully support our colleagues in Turkey, the trend for more censorship, more detention, more violations must stop ! Journalists should have the right to do their work safely and without the fear of being arrested or fired. European journalists will continue to support press freedom and share their concerns in Brussels,” added Mogens Blicher Bjerregaard, EFJ President.

The IFJ-EFJ and their affiliate TGS (Journalists Union of Turkey) will address all those issues at their next international conference, entitled “Fighting for journalists rights and freedoms in a politically polarized country”, on 17-18 September in Istanbul. 

More information about the programme can be found here.