January 11, 2015

Turkish journalist federation slams gov’t press profiling

Turkish Journalists Federation President Nazmi Bilgin, slammed gov’t profiling of journalists and discriminative press accreditation policy.

Speaking at the 69th anniversary of the foundation of Turkish Journalists Federation, Bilgin referenced the frequent “parallel state” term coined by the government against NGO’s journalists; as well as sympathizers to the Hizmet Movement, stating “There is no parallel, vertical or horizontal in journalism. There is only right and wrong.”

“I wish journalists to be not imprisoned in today’s Turkey. I wish to live in the country, which journalists do not worry about their future,” expressed the Federation president slamming the muzzling of press in Turkey.

Press freedoms have been a hot topic in Turkey, especially since the December 14 raids on Zaman newspaper. Samanyolu Broadcast Group President Hidayet Karaca and three police officers were subsequently arrested and jailed while awaiting trial on terror charges, audaciously based on alleged defamation of a group suspected of links to al-Qaeda .

In recent weeks several journalists have been detained over tweets posted against the ruling government. Last week, Turkish police briefly detained a Dutch reporter for ‘promoting terrorism’.

Another point of world-wide criticism is Turkish government’s accreditation policy which has excluded outspoken press from covering a number of key events. Bilgin announced that a new campaign titled “Press for Freedom” has been launched whereby all instances of discrimination via accreditation policy will be reported.

“Freedom of press is a must in democracy. But unfortunately today, there is no freedom of press in real terms in Turkey. They [the government] prevent people right to get information via allowing some journalists to join their press conference, while in the other hand some others facing with accreditation,” added Bilgin.

Turkish Journalists Federation president also criticized the numerous government-controlled press establishments stating “Today, Turkey celebrates the Working Journalists' Day. But when we compare the working journalist and real journalist in the country, unfortunately we see that the number of real journalist in the country is in the minority.”

Published on Today's Zaman, 11 January 2015, Sunday