July 2, 2016

Turkish daily calls for end of censorship on media over gov’t-led ban on website

Yarına Bakış, a Turkish daily critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, has released a public statement after its website was banned by the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) in another example of the government-led crackdown on media in Turkey.

The statement is as follows:
This censorship must end!

Without justifying its action and in the absence of any court ruling, the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) banned our news site (www.yarinabakis.com) for visitors from Turkey the night of June 30. Our webpage remains inaccessible ever since while repeated requests for an explanation, both verbal and written, for this administrative measure went unanswered.

This is the latest in a series of blatant violations of press freedom in Turkey in the past few years. We, the journalists, have unfortunately witnessed police raids on various media outlets and arrest of many colleagues because of their critical work before. It is why Turkey ranks 151th out of 180 countries on the Reporters Without Borders’ 2016 World Press Freedom Index and its press in categorized as ‘not free’ by the Freedom House. It, therefore, no longer surprises us to see Turkish authorities add another line to their long record of pressure on independent voices, yet deserves our strongest condemnation. This is not the way to build a safe and prosperous country, not to mention a democracy where rule of law prevails.

We are still hopeful that the world will not turn a blind eye to all these violations in an EU-candidate nation and a real, free democracy with all its checks-and-balances can be achieved in Turkey, too.
Published on Turkish Minute, 1 July 2016, Friday