According to international organizations, Turkey became the country with the most journalists in prison once again after 2 years. Currently, 148 journalists are imprisoned, around 170 media outlets have been shut down and thousands of journalists are out of work.
Barış Yarkadaş as a journalist himself, and a member of the ‘Investigation Commission for Oppression against the Media’ indicated that the year of 2016 has been a dark year for Turkish media.
‘Accusation reports are no where to be found’
Yarkadaş argued that subsequent to the vile coup attempt that took place on the 15th of July, 170 media outlets, including newspapers, TV channels, radio stations, news agencies, journals and publishing houses have been shut down via the ‘enactments that act as laws’, and that the accusation reports for the journalists who are arrested have NOT yet been filed although it has been 130 days.
Yarkadaş reminded that aside from Fetullah Terror Organization’s media outlets, many contrarian media agencies have also been shut down. He said “Within this period, around 2 thousand 500 people who are working in the media industry have fallen out of work, and hundreds of press members’ press cards have been cancelled. Many journalists’ passports have been seized and several journalists’ personal property have been confiscated.”
‘Oppression for referendum’
Yarkadaş pointed out that the year 2017 will be even harder for journalists and said “We know that there are ongoing trials of 650 journalists over the messages they tweeted over twitter. An agency thats known for its close ties to the government serves news regarding Ahmet Şık who is a journalist thats currently arrested. On the streets, writers and intelligentsia are threatened to get murdered. The number of journalists who are detained increases daily. The threatening atmosphere for the journalists that has been established in 2016 is very concerning.
Overall, journalists in Turkey are pessimistic in regards to the possibility that the current environment might change in 2017. Due to a possible referendum, the mutual belief among the journalists is that this oppression on media might become even harsher in 2017. The media report of 2016 is a disgrace to our country. Journalism is NOT a crime. I wish from the bottom of my heart that in 2017, the trial processes for the journalists in prison would swiftly commence.”
Yarkadaş, made a 16 page report of the oppression over the media and distributed it to his colleagues.
The first page of the reports is as follows:
“Throughout the ongoing trials, 4 journalists have been punished with jail time. The total jail time for crimes related to ‘terror’ and ‘defamation’ is 54 years and 11 months.
There have been 12 investigations against journalists, columnists and news agencies, 6 of which was due to ‘defamation of the President’.
3 of them foreign, 20 journalists have been taken into custody.
4 journalists have been arrested.
6 journalists were called to give testimony.
5 journalists had to defend themselves before the judge.
Along with journalists, 8 news agencies were taken to court.
3 journalists were kidnapped by the terrorist organization PKK.
1 foreign journalist has been deported.
After 6 incidents that directly concerned the public, broadcasting ban has been imposed.
2 press agencies have ben attacked, 4 journalists have been physically assaulted.
1 journalist has been injured.
1 newspaper, 1 journal and 3 books have been collected or banned.
The social media websites have been shut down after 7 incidents, some of which were directly concerning the public.
‘Funeral accreditation’ have been practiced once again.
5 media outlets that belonged to İpek Media Group were shut down.
Trustees were assigned to Zaman Newspaper and Cihan News Agency.
Olay TV has stopped their operations in Ankara and Doğan Media Group has closed down the website radikal.com.tr.
723 press veterans have been put out of work.”