Turkey: 55 journalists' jobs under threat

Employees at Artı TV and online media Artı Gerçek face losing their jobs as a result of their parent company's decision to terminate its contract with the two media. Five workers have already been fired or forced to resign since the decision was made on 22 March. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) and their Turkish affiliate DİSK Basın-İş denounced the management decision and have called for the workers' rights to be respected.

Credit: DİSK Basın İş

German-based Turkish TV station Artı TV and online media Artı Gerçek belong to the Artı Media Foundation, controlled by German-Dutch owners.

Employees of both media had already been working without a pay rise for the last 4 years, which led them to negotiate a new collective agreement which was signed with DISK Basin on 4 March.  On March 22nd, Artı TV’s editor-in-chief informed DİSK Basın-Is' President that Artı TV and Artı Gerçek's contract with the Artı Media Foundation was being terminated. 

Five journalists have been fired or forced to resign, including DİSK Basın İş work representative, Cenk Koçak, and 55 others are at risk of being fired.

The contract signed on 4 March included provisions implementing International Labor Organization (ILO)'s principles and regulations to “honor the value Artı TV creates by being the voice of voiceless, oppressed, women, people, workers and LGBTI+’s”, according to DİSK Basın's executive board.

It also included provisions protecting workers’ social and economic rights. 

Since the signature of the agreement, media workers have been pushed to carry out further tasks outside their job description. Those who refused have been fired. 

In a statement published on March 26th, DİSK Basın İş said: “We strongly condemn the act of management which is showing true disrespect of workers' right to be paid fairly and carry out tasks they have been hired for”.

EFJ General Secretary, Ricardo Gutiérrez, said: "We call on the German and Dutch owners of these media to reconsider their decision. We call on the journalists' organisations in Germany and the Netherlands, DJV, dju in verdi and NVJ, to show solidarity with their Turkish colleagues by putting pressure on the owners."

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We are truly concerned about the termination of a contract that will put 55 journalists on the dole. We demand Artı Media Foundation review its decision to terminate its contract and consult with our affiliate DİSK Basın on options to secure media workers' jobs. We will actively support the fight to save these jobs”.