Turkey: Union takes legal action against blacklisting of journalists


The Turkish Journalists’ Union (TGS), member of the European Federation of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ), and the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) are taking legal action against a think tank over the publication of a report which allegedly blacklisted journalists working for foreign news media.

The IFJ and EFJ condemned the targeting of journalists as the latest attempt by the authorities to silence independent journalism and fully support the actions taken by the TGS.

The Foundation for Political Economic and Social Research (SETA), a pro-government organisation, published on July 6 a 202-page report entitled “International Media Outlets’ Extensions in Turkey” containing information about journalists working for the Turkish language services of international media, including the BBC Türkçe, Deutsche Welle Türkçe, the Voice of America, Sputnik Turkey, Euronews Turkey, Independent Turkey and China Radio International (CRI) Turkey. The report has accused these organizations of “carrying out a perception work.”

Citing the social media posts and retweets of the journalists, the SETA has also referred to the newspapers and news websites BirGün, T24, bianet, Evrensel, Cumhuriyet, Diken, DW Türkçe and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) as “the media that come to the fore with their anti-government news.”

The report details how international media covered the latest events in Turkey, such as the 2016 failed coup, adding the names and professional information of journalists like their postings on social media or previous employment.

TGS filed along with the blacklisted journalists a legal complaint against SETA at Istanbul’s main court on Monday 8 June.

For its part, SETA denied all the allegations and said that the report only focused on information about the professional activities of those named therein.

This report is the latest attempt to restrict media freedom in Turkey, where the situation facing journalists is deteriorating dangerously.  The DİSK Basın-İş (The Press Workers Union) denounced hundreds of attacks and violations of freedom of expression and the press in Turkey during 2018.

According to the TGS, there are 133 journalists actually in prison in Turkey.

Credit photo: TGS