A new documentary called Persona non grata*, directed by Tuluhan Tekelioğu and supported by the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), puts the lights on the poor working conditions of journalists in Turkey. From the basic court reporter to the star columnists of mainstream newspapers, all journalists in the country are currently struggling between legal harassments, political pressures, increasing self-censorship, pressures to quit jobs for covering sensitive issues or pressures to avoid affiliation to a professional trade union movement.
In this 41 minute documentary officially presented in Istanbul at the Swedish Consulate for World Press Freedom Day, Mustafa Kuleli (General Secretary of the Journalists Union of Turkey, TGS), an EFJ-IFJ affiliate, has shared the importance for journalists of joining the trade union movement to defend their rights. Investigative journalist and press photographer Ahmet Şık explains the problem faced for being active as an independent journalist and trade unionist. Columnist Murat Aksoy writing for the pro-governmental daily newspaper Yeni Safak details how he got fired for his opinions when he opposed the government. The editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, Can Dündar, says that legal prosecution is so common that this has become of part of the job for any journalist in Turkey.
*Persona non grata : literally meaning “an unwelcome person” refers to a foreign person whose entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country’s government.
The documentary with English subtitles is now available online.