Turkey: 1,500 days in prison for Ahmet Altan

Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan is 70 years old. He has spent the last four years in a cell in Turkey, apart from one parenthesis – a mockery of 8 days of freedom in November 2019 – when a criminal court ordered his release. 1500 days, today, behind bars without having committed any offence, and amid reports of increased Covid-19 risk in the prison facility where he is held. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and its partners, including Articolo 21 and P24, demand his immediate release. Throughout his trial, Ahmet Altan faced absurd, unfounded and ever-changing charges relating to “attempting a…

Turkey: “Journalism still resists and survives here”

This article was originally published on 5 August by Nieman Reports, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author, Emre Kizilkaya, a 2019 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellow who is currently the editor of journo.com.tr. Original title: “As Erdoğan Cracks Down, Turkey’s Independent Journalists Need Digital Skills and Business Acumen” – “Turkey’s mainstream media has imploded, and it will not come back even after Erdoğan” Shooting a glance at the uncanny paraphernalia on my desk feels like watching a “Breaking Bad” teaser: A fist-sized rock near my monitor, a half-burnt tear gas canister on the rock, holding a…

2020 Annual Report: Attacks on media in Europe must not become a new normal

Launch of the 2020 Annual Report by the partner organisations to the Council of Europe Platform to Promote the Protection of Journalism and Safety of Journalists Attacks on press freedom in Europe are at serious risk of becoming a new normal, 14 international press freedom groups and journalists’ organisations, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), warn today as they launch the 2020 annual report of the Council of Europe Platform for the Protection of Journalists. The fresh assault on media freedom amid the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened an already gloomy outlook. The report analyses alerts submitted to the Platform…

97 journalists in jail in Europe: EFJ joins #FreeThePress campaign

Amid the unprecedented public health threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), together with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Russian Permanent Commission on Freedom of Information and the Rights of Journalists, joins the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to call on all world leaders to immediately and unconditionally release all journalists imprisoned for their work. On behalf of more than 250 journalists behind bars (including 97 in Europe: 85 in Turkey, 7 in Russia and 5 in Azerbaijan), we call on authorities to free these political prisoners immediately and unconditionally. For journalists…

Turkey must end public ad ban on independent newspapers

Today, the International Press Institute (IPI), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), Reporters without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), called for an immediate end to the ban on public advertising on the two independent newspapers Evrensel and BirGün. Both newspapers are part of a shrinking club of media that have stubbornly resisted pressure to curb their independent journalism and readiness to criticize the authorities. Since September they have been subjected to indefinite bans imposed by BIK (Basin Ilan Kurumu), the agency responsible for the distribution of the state advertising budget.…

Turkish press authority cancels press cards of hundreds of journalists

The Turkish press authority cancelled press cards of hundreds of journalists, but did not give any reason for the measure. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ), along with their national affiliates, the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) and DİSK Basın-Is, urge the authorities to revoke this decision and reissue immediately new press cards to their holders. The decision concerned hundreds of journalists who found out that the Directorate General of Press and Information in Prime Ministry’s Office had cancelled their press cards, when they received their press cards with a “cancelled” stamp inside the back cover.…

Picture credit: Genya Savilov / AFP.

Aseev is free but 122 journalists remain in prison in Europe

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) welcomes the release of Ukrainian journalists Stanislav Aseev and Oleh Halaziuk who suffered a long illegal custody in Donetsk. On Sunday, at a checkpoint near Gorlovka, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine have concluded a long-awaited prisoner exchange of 200 prisoners, including the two journalists who contributed to the Ukrainian service of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. While welcoming these releases, the EFJ recalls that 122 journalists and media actors remain in prison in Europe: 108 in Turkey; 7 in Russia; 6 in Azerbaijan; 1 in the United Kingdom (Julian Assange, founder and publisher of WikiLeaks,…

Mission to Turkey: press freedom remains in crisis

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined seven other organisations on a joint mission to Turkey, led by the International Press Institute (IPI). Despite some glimmers of hope, press freedom in the country remains in crisis. International press freedom groups and professional organisations reported today that press freedom and the rule of law in Turkey remain in crisis despite grounds for very cautious optimism, such as yesterday’s ruling releasing several former Cumhuriyet journalists. Over three days this week, the international press freedom delegation held meetings with journalists, civil society, the judiciary and the authorities to assess planned reforms and the…

Turkish court imposes access block on news portals

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) calls on Turkish authorities to cancel the outrageous decision of Ankara 3rd Peace Judge to block access to 136 websites and social media accounts. Ankara 3rd Peace Judge Hasan Demirtas decided on 16 July to block access to 136 internet resources, including bianet and Gazete Fersude news portals, on the basis of “national security” (article 8/A of İnternet Law). The ban targets 15 websites and dozens of social media accounts (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest). The court’s unjustified ruling prevents access to at least 200,000 news stories in bianet, which has been broadcasting…