The ATGB called for freedom of the press in Brussels. Last Minute EUROPE, Belgium, PHOTO GALLERY, CURRENT, POLITICS news headlines and events

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The European Association of Turkish Journalists (ATGB), which operates in Europe, drew attention to the violations of press freedom in Turkey and the new “censorship law” on Shuman Square, which is located in the middle of EU buildings in Brussels. The event, organized under the slogan “Journalism is not a crime”, honored the memory of Metin Göktepe, who was killed in custody 27 years ago, and journalists who became victims of terrorism.

Ricardo Gutierrez also attended

Ricardo Gutiérrez, Secretary General of the European Federation of Journalists, also took part in the meeting, which took place right outside the European Union Commission on the eve of Working Journalists’ Day on 10 January.

Noting that he spoke on behalf of 300,000 journalists, Gutierrez said that pressure on his colleagues is unacceptable.

In his speech, ATGB President Rekai Aksu stated that specific data in the reports prepared by trade unions and international organizations showed pressure on journalists in Turkey and said: “In addition, the government is putting economic pressure on all media that do not with the help of RTUK. For unimaginable reasons, it is raining fines on opposition media such as Tele 1, Hulk TV, KRT and Fox. Access to independent publications of Deutsche Welle is blocked for absurd reasons.”

Articles in five languages

In addition to Turkish, statements were read in protest in English, German, French and Flemish. Highlighting the growing pressure on the free press in Turkey, it was noted that the media are largely under the influence of the government. Statements indicating that press organizations and journalists broadcasting critical of the government were subjected to intense pressure indicated that many media organizations were tried to incapacitate with fines, and that independent journalists were arrested and imprisoned.

ATGB: Journalism is not a crime

Recay Aksu, President of the European Union of Turkish Journalists, said in his speech:

“As an ATGB that has been active across Europe since 2002, we are shouting to the world that “Journalism is not a crime” and we want everyone to know that journalists in Turkey are not alone. In Turkey, where the media came under government control and independent and freelance journalists were silenced by a new censorship law, we could not remain silent.

The AKP toppled its 20-year rule. In these 20 years, institutions have been destroyed, attacks on secularism have intensified, the economy has collapsed, and the media has been surrounded. Although we journalists have experienced the hardest oppression of the arbitrariness of the government and the Law on Censorship, we have not given up writing the truth, we are not giving up.

Although the government claims that freedoms in Turkey increase at every opportunity, the situation is actually reversed.

According to the Turkish Union of Journalists Report 2021-2022; 23,907 registered employees in the direction of “Press, broadcasting and journalism” carry out journalistic activities.

While the overall unemployment rate in 2021 is 12 percent, the unemployment rate for journalism graduates is 18.3 percent, according to TUIK. Although the number of journalists holding an official press credential has increased compared to last year, only 68.72 percent of registered journalists hold a credential. This rate drops even more for uninsured or self-employed journalists. The economic and social rights of journalists are as worrisome as the obstacles to editorial independence.

26 journalists are in prison for their journalistic activities. Despite the fact that measures to combat the pandemic have been relaxed, the rights of journalists in prisons are being violated by the prison administration based on these measures.

Journalists’ applications for transfers are rejected, and the right to probation is blocked by arbitrary decisions of the board. Journalists cannot communicate with their families, communicate, receive news from outside, cannot access health care, and are held in prisons with poor hygienic conditions.

Journalists are most often accused of “membership in an armed organization” and “propaganda of a terrorist organization”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported that the number of journalists imprisoned in 2022 has set a new record. The top five countries with the most jailed journalists this year were Iran, China, Myanmar, Turkey and Belarus.

As of December 1, 2022, 363 journalists were in detention, according to CPJ. This figure is 20 percent higher than last year’s record. According to the report, the number of journalists imprisoned in Turkey increased from 18 in 2021 to 40 in 2022. In the first half of the year, 25 Kurdish journalists were arrested. Lawyers for the journalists told CPJ that all the defendants were imprisoned on suspicion of terrorism as part of a government effort to silence people associated with the PKK.

“While fewer journalists have been imprisoned this year than after the coup attempt in 2016, independent media in Turkey have been severely affected by government shutdowns, power grabs and the forced expulsion or dismissal of many journalists,” the report says.

Reports and specific data prepared by trade unions and international organizations testify to the pressure on journalists in Turkey.

In addition to this, the government, with the help of RTÜK, is economically squeezing out all “non-independent” media organizations. For unimaginable reasons, it is raining fines on opposition media such as Tele 1, Hulk TV, KRT and Fox.

Announcing the fines imposed by RTÜK on his social media account, RTÜK member Ilhan Tashci said that the program “Medya Mahallesi”, broadcast on Halk TV, was decided to be stopped three times, claiming that “terrorism is praised with gestures.”

Taşci said, “RTÜK has broken its own record by imposing a 3% fine on two separate broadcasts of the same program on different dates!” said.

Tashchi at TELE1, prof. Dr. Emre Kongar and TELE1 editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardag also announced that TELE 1 was fined 3 percent for calling the jail sentence of IBB president Ekrem Imamoglu “a blow to the will of the people.”

Tashci said that TYPE spokeswoman Sera Kadıgil, who was hosted by İlker Karagoz on FOX TV, imposed a 3 percent administrative fine on FOX TV for her words to AKP President Erdoğan: stated.

Tashci noted the following: “RTÜK handed over three separate sentences to Medya Mahallesi, which were broadcast on Halk TV. It was decided to suspend the transmission 3 times and impose a fine of 3% for the statement that on the air “terrorism is praised with gestures”. RTÜK broke its own record by penalizing two separate broadcasts of the same program on different dates by 3%!

prof. Dr. TELE 1 was sentenced to a 3% administrative fine because Emre Kongar and Merdan Yanardag described the prison sentence given to İBB President Ekrem Imamoglu as “a blow to the will of the people”. TELE 1 was also fined 3% for the Open program.

On “Alarm Clock with İlker Karagöz”, TİP Istanbul MP ​​Sera Kadıgil decided by a majority vote to impose a 3% administrative fine on Fox TV because of President Erdoğan’s words about the economy:

We, the European Union of Turkish Journalists, declare that we support our colleagues in Turkey and will show solidarity with them to the end, and we insist that journalism is not a crime.

We reiterate that the government’s censorship law cannot stop us, that we will continue to do our job with dignity, and we call on the European Parliament to take a stand against the SEP, which is waging a war against public freedom of information.

Journalism is not a crime!

The free press cannot be silenced!

End of censorship in Turkey, freedom for journalists!

Journalists in Turkey are not alone

Artists Kenan Erer and Tanar Çatalpınar gave a concert at an event organized by ATGB in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. As various press freedom banners were carried, ATGB cartoonists Erdogan Karael, Hayati Boyacioglu and Ismail Dogan supported the demonstration with their press freedom cartoons.

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