Turkey must respect foreign media outlets’ independence – Joint statement calls for press card to be renewed without further interference
Pressure on international media in Turkey is increasing. German journalists have been expelled from the country as their press accreditations were not renewed. International freedom of expression organisations including the AEJ urge Turkey’s authorities in a joint alert to revoke the decisions, to stop the expulsion of international journalists, to renew press cards to foreign media outlets, and to respect their independence.
Two German journalists were compelled to leave Turkey on Sunday, 10 March 2019, after their press accreditations were not renewed for 2019 without any explanation. Jorg Brase, a journalist working for Germany’s ZDF public broadcaster, and Thomas Seibert, reporter at the Tagesspiegel newspaper, were long-term correspondents in the country. The Turkish embassy in Germany apparently tried in vain to make a deal to have the correspondents replaced, Tagesspiegel’s editor-in-chief reports. A third journalist, Halil Gulbeyaz, with NDR TV also had his accreditation refused and is not allowed return to Turkey.
Besides the recent and on-going intimidation, detention, and prosecution of local journalists, pressure against foreign media outlets has been growing in Turkey. These incidents are not isolated cases, but show a systematic approach to also silence and control foreign independent media coverage in the country. Several international journalists have faced intimidation or been forced to leave the country already over the past year after they fell out of favour with Turkey’s government. Others are still waiting for the renewal of their accreditations and might have to leave the country as well. Press cards are necessary work permits to receive a residence permit.
The latest incident yet again marks a strong and arbitrary affront against international press freedom and independent media outlets. It is especially worrying in the run-up to local elections at the end of March (and general elections in 2023).
The undersigned organisations call on the EU institutions for a meaningful response. Moreover, we urge Turkey’s authorities to revoke the decisions, to stop the expulsion of international journalists, to renew press cards to foreign media outlets, and to respect their independence.
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
Association of European Journalists (AEJ)
Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Global Editors Network (GEN)
Human Rights Watch
International Press Institute (IPI)
Italian Press Federation
Platform for Independent Journalism (P24)
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA)