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.


  • 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.



Turkish court frees seven jailed journalists

The trial, which began on Monday 24 July, involved 17 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives wrongfully accused of secretly supporting the PKK – a militant Kurdish organisation and FETO, the group allegedly responsible for last year’s failed coup. The Cumhuriyet employees on trial are editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, columnist Kadri Gürsel, CEO Akin Atalay, printing administrator Önder Çelik, attorney Bülent Utku, cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Hakan Karasinir, attorney Mustafa Kemal Güngör, reporter Ahmet Şık, editor Turhan Günay, columnist Güray Öz, columnist Hikmet Aslan Çetinkaya, former editor-in-chief Can Dündar, columnist Aydin Engin, financial manager Bülent Yener, accounting manager Günseli Özaltay and columnist Orhan…

Turkey: Press freedom on trial

The EFJ is closely following the proceedings that started on Monday 24 July in Istanbul against 17 prominent journalists, editors and board members of Cumhuriyet newspaper, including Can Dündar, Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık. EFJ president Mogens Blicher Bjerregård participated in the court case on 24-25 July and met several journalists and EFJ affiliates. Below a personal account of his impressions: Press freedom must be protected, and not put on trial as it has happened this week in Istanbul with the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet. 17 journalists and executives are accused in a completely political and fabricated way for…

Cumhuriyet trial in Turkey: “This case is about criminalizing journalism”

The president of the European Federation of Journalists Mogens Blicher Bjerregård is attending today in Istanbul the opening of the trial of 17 journalists and executives at Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet.  “Journalism is not a crime,” chanted several hundred people gathered outside the central Istanbul court to protest against the prosecution of journalists, executives and lawyers of Cumhuriyet. “You can really feel the solidarity present in the courtroom,” said Mogens Blicher Bjerregård. “Let’s hope for justice.” On the behalf of the international support group attending the trial, Steven M. Ellis, from the International Press Institute, delivered the following statement, in front…

Cumhuriyet trial in Turkey: background and resources

Representatives from international free expression groups and professional organisations gathered in Istanbul on July 24 to monitor the trial of 17 journalists and executives from the newspaper Cumhuriyet on accusations that its reporting lent support to terrorists. Prosecutors are demanding prison terms of up to 43 years for the defendants on charges that include “helping an armed terrorist organization while not being a member” and “employment-related abuse of trust”. They argue that the newspaper has acted since 2013 as “defender and protector” of the movement led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen – whom Turkey’s government blames for the failed July 2016…

Turkey: Cumhuriyet journalists face trial on 24 July

The trial involving 17 journalists and executives of Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet will start on Monday 24 July at 9:00am in Istanbul’s Çağlayan Justice Palace. The trial is expected to continue until Thursday 28 July. The International and European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) join their affiliates TGS and DISK Basin-Is  in condemning the trial which is based on unfounded accusations that the paper is secretly supporting the PKK – a militant Kurdish organisation and FETO, the group allegedly responsible for last year’s failed coup. EFJ president Mogens Blicher Bjerregård will be present at the trial on behalf of both…

Cumhuriyet trial

The trial of 17 journalists from daily newspaper Cumhuriyet will begin on 24 July 2017 and is expected to run until 28 July, in Istanbul.

EU Parliament urges Turkey to release arrested journalists immediately

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the resolution of the European Parliament calling for the immediate release of arrested journalists in Turkey. The European Parliament called on Thursday for Turkey’s European Union accession talks to be suspended if Ankara fully implements plans to expand President Erdogan‘s powers. The resolution passed by parliament in Strasbourg (477 in favour, 64 against and 97 abstentions) “calls on the Commission and the member states… to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged.” The European Parliament reminds its previous resolution on the situation of journalists…

Statement regarding the situation of media freedom in Turkey

Following the specific request of the delegates at the Annual Meeting held in Bucharest on 18-19 May 2017 asking for a strong position of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Steering Committee issued the following statement regarding the situation of media freedom in Turkey : The EFJ, fighting in cooperation with the IFJ and all its affiliates, welcomes the “send a postcard to jailed journalists in Turkey campaign” in the framework of its #JournalismisNOTacrime / #Gazeteciliksuçdegildir project inviting everyone to send written moral support to journalists and media workers in jail. 165 journalists are still in jail according to…