Press freedom in Turkey remains in crisis, despite some room for very cautious optimism

first_img Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law Credit : International Press Institute (IPI) September 13, 2019 Press freedom in Turkey remains in crisis, despite some room for very cautious optimism News Help by sharing this information Organisation Ankara, Istanbul,  13 September 2019 – International press freedom groups reported today that press freedom and the rule of law in Turkey remain in crisis despite grounds for very cautious optimism, such as yesterday’s ruling releasing several former Cumhuriyet journalists.  Over three days this week, the international press freedom delegation held meetings with journalists, civil society, the judiciary and the authorities to assess planned reforms and the continued crackdown facing journalists in Turkey. Convened by the International Press Institute (IPI), the delegation also comprised representatives from Article 19, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), PEN International, Norwegian PEN, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).A Judicial Reform Strategy, announced in May 2019 by the Turkish government to address flaws in the justice system, will not be credible unless it guarantees judicial independence in both law and practice and ends the persecution of journalists, the press freedom delegation said today. The delegation said it welcomed the intention of the authorities to undertake reform. However, the delegation highlighted in meetings with officials how the press freedom environment in the country has not improved since the lifting of the State of Emergency in July 2018, how scores of journalists remain behind bars or under travel bans as a consequence of an extended, politically motivated crackdown against the media, and how a subsequent wide-ranging capture of the judiciary has progressively and severely damaged the rule of law and the public’s right to access information. As part of any judical reform strategy, Turkey should urgently revise anti-terror and defamation laws, repeatedly abused to silence critical press. It should take immediate steps to end the arbitrary prosecution of journalists, characterized by baseless indictments, politically driven judgments and severe violations of the right to a fair trial. It should reverse moves that allow  disproportionate political interference into the operations of the judiciary, including the April 2017 amendment to Article 159 of the Constitution, which allows for political control over the nomination procedure to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors, affecting the independence of the entire judicial system.As proposed changes are discussed and examined, the delegation urged Turkish authorities to closely involve independent civil society, journalists and international experts in the fields of freedom of expression, judicial independence and the rule of law and to enact reforms to bring the independence of the judicary in line with Turkey´s commitments under international human rights law. The delegation met with local civil society groups and journalists in Istanbul and then travelled to Ankara, where it met with the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and the EU and other foreign diplomatic missions. The delegation regrets that a long-planned meeting with Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül was cancelled one day in advance. In its meeting with the Constitutional Court, the delegation said Turkey’s highest judicial body must give priority to applications regarding detained journalists and administrative measures blocking websites, including Wikipedia, which has been banned in Turkey for two-and-a-half years. The delays in these cases seriously harm the public’s fundamental right to access information. It also expressed concern over recent inconsistent rulings involving journalists.The delegation strongly welcomed a ruling on Thursday evening by the Court of Cassation to overturn convictions for seven defendants in the Cumhuriyet trial, concerning cases of journalists detained because of their work. The ruling led to their release. While that decision marks belated but significant justice, it cannot reverse the personal damage done to those defendants as a result of their extended imprisonment. In addition, Cumhuriyet’s former accountant, Emre Iper, remains behind bars and journalist and MP Ahmet Sik is set to be retried under a new set of more serious charges. The delegation had been denied permission at the last minute to visit the Cumhuriyet journalists in prison on Wednesday, in a decision illustrative of a systematic denial of prison visits to observers.In addition, the delegation is profoundly alarmed by the implementation of new rules from Turkey’s audiovisual regulator, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), that extend the agency’s control to online broadcasters, threatening their existence through a costly and opaque licensing regime. The delegation is concerned about the system of issuing press cards, which has been taken over by the presidential office and is profoundly affecting the capacity of national and international media to operate in the country. Article 19 Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)International Press Institute (IPI)PEN International, Norwegian PEN Reporters Without Borders (RSF) TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Activities in the fieldCondemning abuses Freedom of expressionJudicial harassment News Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit Follow the news on Turkey RSF_en Receive email alerts to go further April 28, 2021 Find out more News TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Activities in the fieldCondemning abuses Freedom of expressionJudicial harassment Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor News April 2, 2021 Find out more April 2, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Brazil Will Not Consider Fighter-Plane Agreement Until 2012

first_img The Brazilian government will not review the bids for a fighter-plane contract worth billions of dollars until the beginning of 2012, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim told Reuters on 9 July. Brazil, which wants to rebuild and expand its fleet of air force planes, has been considering bids by the French firm Dassault Aviation, Boeing, and the Swedish company Saab. “We’re going to examine it at the beginning of next year. At present, we’re only focused on the national agenda,” Jobim said in the context of a business forum in southern France. The Brazilian contracts are probably worth much more than the initial proposals, which are believed to be in the range of four to six billion dollars, according to local media. The maintenance contracts will be lucrative, and Brazil could eventually acquire more than one hundred planes. Brazil also requires technology transfer, in order to help to create jobs through the domestic manufacture of modern fighter planes and potentially to export them to its neighbors in Latin America. “The chief need is in the area of technology transfer,” said Jobim, who declined to say which of the three bids Brazil is considering is the favorite. Caption: By Dialogo July 12, 2011last_img read more

Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: ‘My little brother needs medicine’

first_img– Advertisement – The regional government has also heavily restricted road travel within Tigray, as fighting takes place, according to the UN, in eight locations, including in the sesame-growing area of Humera, where farmers are usually harvesting crops at this time of the year, helped by workers from the neighbouring region of Amhara, in a sign of how the fate of Ethiopians of all ethnic groups is intertwined. last_img