Sat, 18 May 2024

Draconian government actions after Turkeys’ failed coup threaten to suffocate free speech and press freedom

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International media and press freedom monitoring organisations have used the Council of Europe’s online Platform for the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists to publish several urgent ‘alerts’ about violent actions to control media and the creation of a climate of severe intimidation of free speech during and after the failed coup attempt against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The European Federation of Journalists, Article 19, the Association of European Journalists and others have jointly  posted alerts about the killing by rebel soldiers of journalist Mustafa Cambaz in Istanbul and the seizure by soldiers of the facilities of Turkish state Radio and TV (TRT) and the Dogan Media Centre, which includes CNN Turk and Kanal D TV stations as well as the Hurriyet Daily News.

Press freedom and free speech appear to be under grave threat in the face of inflammatory calls by senior public figures as well as government supporters on social media calling for revenge against those suspected of plotting to challenge or overthrow the government.

Already  over 30 journalists are now in prison in Turkey, including five editors and journalists who face possible prison sentences of 50 years or more on various security and terrorism-related charges which are widely seen as spurious and politically-motivated.

There are urgent concerns about those whose names appear on a list, released on Twitter by a pro-government user, of more than 70 journalists and writers who are allegedly to be detained on suspicion of involvement in the failed military coup that took place on 15th July.

For further details see the Council of Europe’s Platform. Alerts about serious threats to media freedom and journalists’ safety are communicated directly to the government authorities of the states concernedy after they are published on the site.

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