Turkey : #JournalismIsNotaCrime

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#GazetecilikSuçDegildir /  #JournalismIsNotaCrime

Campaign to set journalism free, develop trade union rights and defend freedom of expression in Turkey

The overall objective is to promote and protect fundamental rights through enhancing the role of journalists in promoting democracy, good governance and public’s right to access information. Freedom of expression is an enabling right for other human rights. Freedom of expression through quality journalism enables the abuse of other human rights to be exposed and those responsible to be held accountable. Strengthening the position of journalists and their ability to perform their role in serving the public with informed independent critical journalism is the bedrock of democracy.

Specific objectives include:

• Improve journalists’ rights, safety and independence through a strengthened Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) that can protect professional and labour rights and improve conditions;
• End judicial harassment of journalists and the release of remaining jailed journalists.
• Improve coverage of equality and minority issues by media and improve treatment of minorities in media
At the heart of the specific objectives is the need to build a strong national journalists’ union that can protect and represent its members. A strong journalists’ union will promote the profession, promote the rights of its workers and the standards of journalism. It will engage employers, government and civil society on the need to protect quality, independent journalism as a lifeblood of society. It will unite the many different and diverse voices around the central principles of independent ethical journalism and the need to protect everyone’s right to contribute to it.

Activities

  • Work Package 1: Capacity building programme to audit, reform, equip and provide 3 leadership trainings of TGS staff, leaders and activists in Istanbul on union leadership, negotiating and campaigning
  • Work Package 2: 30 Recruitment activities at workplaces, 10 employer negotiations:
  • Work Package 3: Opening a new TGS branch /solidarity office in Diyarbakir
  • Work Package 4: 3 safety trainings for 60 journalists in South east Turkey on hostile environments, digital security, PTSD and first aid.
  • Work Package 5: Press Freedom, trial Monitoring and advocacy campaign with legal support co-ordinated nationally and internationally
  • Work Package 6: Journalists and unionists international advocacy and networking
  • Work Package 7: Women and LGBTI equality Commission campaign for equal treatment and improved reporting of equality issues.

#EU4humanrights


Actions

European Union pressuring Turkey to release jailed journalists

The European Union and Turkey will see no progress in their relations as long as Turkey holds journalists in prison, the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday (12/01/2018) at a news conference in Bulgaria. The president of the European Commission made this comment following the news that a Criminal Court in Istanbul defied the Turkish Constitutional Court’s decision ruling that the journalists’ rights had been violated and subsequently to release imprisoned journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay.   “Turkey is moving away from its European ambitions of the past and we are going to have to see…

Turkey: implement Constitutional Court decision to free journalists

A High Criminal Court of Istanbul has defied a Constitutional Court’s ruling that the rights of journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay to liberty and freedom of expression have been violated and the two journalists should be released from custody. The lower court said the judgment was a “usurpation of authority” and therefore could not be accepted. Initially, the lower courts impacted by the ruling said the detentions would be reviewed after the top court’s reasoned decisions were formally communicated. In turn, the Turkish Constitutional Court then released its judgments and posted notes on social media saying that they are…

Turkey: Four Cumhuriyet journalists ordered to remain in prison

At a hearing on 25 December 2017, a Turkish judge ordered four journalists and senior staff from the newspaper Cumhuriyet to remain in prison for at least two more months during their trial. The newspaper’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, attorney Akin Atalay, correspondent Ahmet Şık and accountant Emre Iper, are charged with supporting through their coverage three outlawed groups: The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the Gülen network. They face up to 43 years in prison if convicted. The newspaper and staff have denied the charges, and argue that they are being targeted to silence…

Omar Aourtilane Prize in solidarity with journalists in Turkey

The Algerian Arabic-language daily El Khabar has decided to award this year its prestigious Omar Aourtilane International Prize for Press Freedom to the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS, an EFJ-IFJ affiliate) in solidarity with imprisoned and prosecuted journalists in Turkey for their journalistic activities. The eighteenth edition of the ceremony was held in Algiers on December 7, 2017 at the headquarters of the KBC television channel, owned by the Algerian private group El Khabar, in the presence of journalist Zoubir Souissi who chaired the jury assisted by journalist Kaddour Hamlaoui (France 3) and Zakia Aourtilane , Secretary General of this prize. “The…

Joint Statement on Turkey to the European Union

PEN International, PEN Belgium/Flanders, the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Article 19, the Association of European Journalists (AEJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Global Editors Network (GEN), Index on Censorship, the International Press Institute (IPI), American PEN, Danish PEN, English PEN, Norwegian PEN, Wales PEN Cymru, Reporters without Borders (RSF), and the South East Europe Media Organization (SEEMO), welcome the opportunity to deliver this statement :  Working collectively, both jointly and separately, we have an established body of work on freedom of expression in Turkey, in part predating the…

EU should push Turkey to reform the judiciary and the rule of law

Turkey: How the EU Can Support Press Freedom ? was the subject of discussion at the European Parliament on 6 December 2017, where three journalists from Turkey spoke about press freedom in the country and how the European Union can help to tackle the situation. The event was organised by the International Press Institute (IPI) in partnership with the European Foundation for Democracy (EFD) and supported by the Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul. As more and more journalists are being imprisoned, the support is needed and it has been clearly voiced by the Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Progressive…

Journalists in Turkey facing more and more imprisonment

November was a difficult month again for imprisoned and prosecuted journalists in Turkey. More and more professional journalists and media workers are facing imprisonment or threats for reporting information or simply for being affiliated to specific media outlets, wrongly considered by Turkish authorities as criminal acts. On 21 November 2017, journalist Oğuz Güven, editor-in-chief of the online version of Cumhuriyet daily newspaper, was sentenced to 3 years and 1 month of imprisonment due to a temporary tweet which Mr Güven had sent and quickly deleted regarding the accidental death of a public prosecutor. Mustafa Alper, the Chief Public Prosecutor of Denizli, died…

Incentivising media rights and plurality by supporting good practices in Western Balkans and Turkey

“How to improve the precarious state of journalism in South East Europe and Turkey” was the topic of a press conference held by the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) on 14th November 2017 at the Press Club Brussels. The press conference took place in the framework of the EFJ project, Building Trust in Media in South East Europe and Turkey – a project supported financially by UNESCO and the European Union. Andris Kesteris, principal advisor at DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) at the European Commission and Tarja Turtia, UNESCO Programme Specialist, attended the event to hear representatives of…