‘We are Left Unemployed, Subjected to Violence, Imprisoned…’

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  • January 6, 2020
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The Contemporary Journalists' Association (CGD) has released its quarterly report on the state of media in Turkey, documenting the last three months of 2019.

The Contemporary Journalists' Association (CGD) has issued its twentieth quarterly report on the state of media in Turkey.

Covering the last three months of last year, the report documents practices of censorship on the press, dismissal of journalists, court verdicts, threats and violence against journalists, gender inequality as legitimized by news, violations of principles and manipulations.

Shared with the public in a statement held by the CGD Administrative Board, the report has indicated that "as we have entered 2020, we cannot unfortunately note down the developments that promise a hope for democracy." Some highlights from the report are as follows:

'Principles of the profession disregarded'

"We had a year much worse, darker and more difficult than the previous years in terms of freedom of press and expression.

"While its primary cause was the pressures of the government, another equally effective reason was that the media in Turkey did not hesitate for a moment to violate - or even disregard - the principles of the profession in extraordinary periods, as we have experienced for several times before.

"The only difference that we saw in the past three months was that the number of pressures exerted on the press quantitatively increased. We were left unemployed more, our personal rights were restricted more and we were subjected to more physical violence, accused and faced prison sentences.

"Our 46 colleagues were dismissed in a single day from Hurriyet newspaper in a way that has left a black mark on the history of press. This staff, which was the backbone of the newspaper and had years and years of experience, was targeted because they were unionized.

Official bans on ads

"In this three-month period, Faruk Bildirici was dismissed from the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTAK) Supreme Board, Constitutional Court deprived us of our legal right to receive 5 percent more money if our overtime pay is delayed, daily SAlzcu columnists and workers were unbelievably sentenced to prison on FETO-related charges, our colleagues were arrested and we faced endless incidents of detention.

"On the other side, the state institutions' policy of destroying journalism in a systematic manner continued and the Press Advertisement Institute arbitrarily imposed official ad bans on BirGun, Evrensel and Cumhuriyet.

Assaults on journalists

"Unfortunately, in this period, physical assaults against journalists increasingly continued. While no precautions were taken, the assaulters got away with what they did. After Odatv columnist Sabahattin Onkibar and Yenicag columnist Yavuz Selim Demirag, Yenicag former Ankara Representative Ahmet Takan, KRT host Murat Ide, Metin Isik in Igdir, Hakki Saglam in Eskisehir and Hasan DAlnmez in Konya were attacked and battered in the middle of the street.

"Committed mostly by the people sharing the political views of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), these crimes were overlooked by the authorities.

"The outlook for 2020 is not optimistic, either. Even today, it is possible to foresee that war, barbarism and right violations will be on the rise. We have apparently entered a period when truths will face off against lies more.

"In this period, it is more important than ever before that the media does not become an instrument to any provocation and journalism is done to the benefit of the public amid conflicts of interest groups and big power groups.

"Today, a principled journalism requires that life is defended against death, environment is defended against the plunder of nature, future is defended against climate crisis and people's benefits are defended against interest groups. For a journalism passionately devoted to the essence of the profession and for a democratic state of press and country, we are calling on our colleagues to engage in an organized struggle in 2020 as well."

Source: English Bianet