15 June 2012
Statement of the European Federation of Journalists annual meeting on press freedom in Turkey
The Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Journalists being held in Bergamo, Italy on 15-17 June 2012,
is deeply concerned with the press freedom situation in Turkey and with the situation of journalists kept behind bars.
The EFJ, IFJ and many media freedom organisations have worked tirelessly to highlight these cases and to campaign for the release of almost 100 journalists in jail because of their work.
Having so many journalists in jail puts Turkey at the top of the list of countries imprisoning journalists.
Turkish journalists unions were underlining for years that there were many anti-democratic articles in the Turkish Penal Law restricting freedom of speech and the Anti-Terror Law was listed as a major obstacle for freedom of speech.
Welcomes the campaigns that have been waged in support of jailed journalists in Turkey, including by many journalists unions through the EFJ’s Set Turkish Journalists Free campaign.
Salutes the “witnessing days” which have been held by the Freedom for Journalists Platform and TGS during June in front of the Palace of Justice in Istanbul in order to seek justice for imprisoned journalists.
Condemns the Turkish Prime Minister because of his libellous statements and hate speech regarding the journalists such as “vultures, we have removed your restrictive collars but you put on international collars.”
Calls on the Turkish authorities to show respect and tolerance towards all journalists, authors, artists, intellectuals, academics, trade unionists, representatives of non-governmental organisations that criticise the government.
Encourages EFJ affiliates and their members to take all opportunities to publicise the media freedom situation in Turkey and to participate in the EFJ’s ‘adoption programme’ that links up journalists’ unions with individual journalists in prison.
Notes that despite, the release of a small number of journalists, including Ahmet Şık who has addressed the annual meeting, many journalists remain in prison awaiting trial.
Urges the Turkish government to free the jailed journalists immediately. Keeping journalists, indeed any citizen, in jail for over four years without a final verdict of the courts is not acceptable in any democratic country.
While stressing that we will be in solidarity with our jailed Turkish colleagues, we once again want to underline that keeping journalists in jail will only deprive Turkish citizens of information and bring shame to the Turkish authorities.
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200