Joint Press Conference against harresment of journalists and writers

* Photograph: Mezopotamya Agency
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Journalists' Association of Turkey (TGC), PEN Turkey Center, Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS), Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK) Press Labor Union, Writers Union of Turkey (TYS), Turkish Publishers Association (TÜRKYAYBİR), News Union (HABER-SEN) and Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) held a joint press conference to denounce the "International Media Outlets' Extensions in Turkey" report of the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).

Coming together at the TGC facilities in Cağaloğlu, İstanbul today (July 9), professional journalism organizations raised their concerns over the report.

The conference started with the joint statement for the press read by TGC Secretary General Sibel Güneş. Behind the speakers of the conference was a banner that read, "SETA's blacklisting of journalists is a crime."

After the joint statement for the press was read out, TGC Chair Turgay Olcayto, PEN Turkey Chair Zeynep Oral, TGS Chair Gökhan Durmuş, DİSK Labor Union Chair Faruk Eren, TYS Chair Adnan Özyalçıner, TÜRKYAYBİR Chair Kenan Kocatürk, HABER-SEN Central Executive Board member Ayşe Noyan Koluman and ÇGD Executive Board member Kenan Şener expressed their opinions regarding the issue.

Güneş: Journalists under pressure of censorship

Reading the joint statement for the press on behalf of professional journalism organizations, Sibel Güneş from the TGC indicated that the media in Turkey is under the pressure of government and people's right to demand information is being prevented.

Reminding the audience that Turkey has ranked 157th in the freedom of expression index, Güneş added, "Over 10 thousand journalists have been left without a job as hundreds of media outlets have been closed due to pressures. And the journalists who can still work are under the pressure of censorship and auto-censorship."

Referring to the SETA report, Güneş said, "It is yet another attempt to target journalists" and described the report as "a disgrace for the history of press." She added that the report "has put the life safety of journalist in danger."

"We are inviting all our blacklisted colleagues to stand up to this attack against their freedom of press and expression and personal freedoms and to use their legal rights," Güneş further indicated.

Olcayto: What they did is a crime

After Güneş read out the joint statement for the press, TGC Chair Turgay Olcayto took the floor. Underlining that the report was prepared by three people who do not have anything to do with journalism, Olcayto indicated that the sole objective of the report was to blacklist journalists.

Referring to the lawsuits filed against journalists, Olcayto stated that "journalists always have one foot at the courthouse" and added, "We will not let the SETA get away with what they did, because what they did is a crime."

Oral: A blow to freedom of thought and expression

Speaking after Olcayto, PEN Turkey Chair Zeynep Oral described the SETA report on journalists as "a blow to freedom of thought and expression."

Oral referred to the report as "a means of blacklisting, informing and threatening" and said that the report was prepared to intimidate journalists.

Concluding her remarks, Oral indicated the following:

"When the truth is disregarded, it does not disappear completely. On the contrary, it becomes all the more striking. This report threatens not only the mentioned newspapers, media or journalists, but all journalists who want to do their jobs and all independent media outlets. If anything happens to a single colleague of ours, the SETA is to blame for." (HA/SD)

* Source: Mezopotamya Agency and Artı TV

Professional journalism organizations held a joint press conference to denounce the SETA report on journalists. “If anything happens to a single colleague of ours, the SETA is to blame for”, the organizations have warned.

İstanbul - BIA News Desk09 July 2019, Tuesday 16:27