European Federation of Journalists

Arrest of 3 editor-in-chief in Turkey is unacceptable !

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) strongly condemn the arrestation of Şebnem Korur Fincancı (President of Turkey Human Rights Foundation), Erol Önderoğlu (journalist at Bianet and RSF Turkey correspondent) and Ahmet Nesin (journalist and author). The three editor-in-chief ad interim of the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem have been arrested today (June 20) over “terror propaganda” because of their participation as temporary editor-in-chief to the production of the newspaper in the framework of a project called Editors in Chief on Watch coordinated by Özgür Gündem daily.

The campaign launched on May 3 for the Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day has attracted 44 individuals who agreed to act as Editors in Chief on Watch launched on May 3. Many other journalists, including trade unionists from DISK-Basin (supported by EFJ-IFJ) are currently under prosecution for the same accusations.

“Journalism is not a crime, we do not accept those arrests. They went to the court to answer the questions, we cannot accept that the court decides to jail them”, said TGS (Journalists Union of Turkey) in a statement.

“Showing solidarity by working as journalist or editor-in-chief cannot be considered as doing terror propaganda. Turkish authorities are clearly misusing the legislation to silence critics and human rights defenders. Those people arrested must immediately be released, Turkey is working against itself by jailing press freedom activitists”, said Mogens Blicher Bjerregard, EFJ President.

Philippe Leruth, IFJ President, said: “The three should be released immediately and all charges dropped. Their only ‘’crime” is to stand up for press freedom and show solidarity with the staff of a newspaper facing continual harassment, intimidation and threat. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues in opposing this latest attack on press freedom”.


Photo Credit : Bianet