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.



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…

There can be no press freedom where journalists work in fear, end impunity!

Impunity is when threats, attacks and crimes against journalists go unpunished. It results in a high level of fear, intimidation, censorship and self-censorship that undermines press freedom, the public right to know and leaves victims and their relatives powerless. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joins the International Federation of Journalists’ (IFJ) campaign to #endimpunity, which aims at holding governments and de facto governments accountable for their impunity records and denouncing any crimes targeting journalists that remain unpunished. Murder is the highest form of these crimes but all attacks targeting journalists that remain unpunished must be denounced. In Europe, the EFJ…

13 organisations intervene on cases of detained Turkish journalists before the European Court of Human Rights

Leading freedom of expression organisations have submitted third-party interventions in ten cases against jailed Turkish journalists to which the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has given priority status. The interventions offer detailed legal analyses of the principles at stake in the cases of the detained journalists. The cases before the ECtHR concern the detention of journalists and board members from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, along with the cases of journalists Murat Aksoy, Şahin Alpay, Ahmet and Mehmet Altan, Ali Bulaç, Ayşe Nazlı Ilıcak, Ahmet Şık, Deniz Yücel and Atilla Taş. The separate interventions include submissions from the Media Legal Defence Initiative, PEN International, ARTICLE 19, the…

Safety protocol with 16 points for journalists covering conflict zones

The Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) in partnership with the European and International Federation of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) successfully organised a 2-day Safety Workshop in Diyarbakir (Southeast of Turkey) on 03-04 October 2017 for local and visiting journalists regularly covering conflict zones in the region. This workshop was organised in the framework of the IFJ-EFJ-TGS project called #GazetecilikSuçDegildir / #JournalismisNOTaCrime, a campaign to set journalism free, develop trade union rights and defend freedom of expression in Turkey which receives the financial support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Program managed by the European Commission. 30 journalists and media workers…

Turkey : TGS secures a new collective agreement at 9 Eylül daily

Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS, EFJ-IFJ affiliate) announced today (29/09/2017) the signature of a new collective agreement for journalists and media workers employed by 9 Eylül daily newspaper in Izmir (Turkey). The collective agreement include an increase in salary (+100 TL) for all the workers employed by the newspaper during the first year and a second increase (+250 TL) for the upcoming years. The staff will also receive a bonus (+500 TL) twice a year as a gift, an additional bonus (+500 TL) to cover crèche fees for workers under aged children, an exceptional gift (+1500 TL) for workers getting married,…

Journalist Hamza Yalçin has been released in Spain

Update (28.09.2017) – Hamza Yalçin has been released on 28/09/2017 by decision of Spain National High Court. “We are very pleased for our colleague, whose release we have been requesting since August 3rd,” said EFJ GS Ricardo Gutiérrez. “The Spanish Government has now to clarify that there is no basis to extradite Hamza Yalçin. There was simply no reason to arrest him: Interpol did not require his arrest.” Margot Wallström, Swedish minister for Foreign Affairs, said “I welcome the Spanish decision not to hand out Hamza Yalcin to Turkey. Hamza Yalcin is now free to travel and can return his family.Sweden…

Baltasar Garzon defending the arrested Swedish-Turkish journalist in Spain

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the decision of Baltasar Garzón, a former member of Spain’s National High Court (Audiencia Nacional) to take a pro bono defense of the Swedish-Turkish journalist Hamza Yalçin currently detained in Barcelona and pending extradition by an Interpol order issued by Turkey. The International Baltasar Garzón Foundation (Fibgar) represents Hamza Yalçin through the ILOCAD law firm, runned by the magistrate, who considers that the detention violates the journalist’s rights. Hamza Yalçin, 59, a journalist citizen of Sweden, is being held in custody in Spain after being arrested on 3 August at the Barcelona airport in compliance with an…