January 1, 2015

Dumanlı explains his detention in video, says journalism not a crime

Zaman editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanlı, who was detained last month, is explaining in a new video clip his detention and the dreadful situation of the freedom of press in Turkey.

The footage includes episodes from the Dumanlı's detention as well as chants by his colleagues and other reporters of the newspaper as they protest the arrest of the editor-in-chief of Turkey's largest newspaper. Zaman has been critical of the government and was on the front in covering the corruption scandal that has significantly tarnished the government's reputation and exposed the widespread graft ring.

Police officials raided the office of Zaman on Dec. 14 and detained Dumanlı and several other journalists, including STV network executive Hidayet Karaca, scriptwriters and producers. The charges against Dumanlı were one news report and two columns about an al-Qaeda-linked Turkish group, which he says he has never heard of. The columns belong to two other columnists, one of whom are critical of the newspaper and quit writing for the paper last year.

Dumanlı says in the video that the freedom of press in Turkey is under serious threat and that the media bosses are under pressure by authorities. He said companies are threatened over the distribution of ads for newspapers. He recalled that dozens of his colleagues lost their jobs recently.

At the end of the video, Dumanlı stands outside his newspaper's building and says: "I'm a journalist. Journalism is not a crime."

Published on Today's Zaman, 01 January 2015, Thursday