|KHRP Publishes Fact Finding Report on Media Freedom in Turkey|
KHRP is pleased to announce the publication of a joint fact-finding mission report on the current situation for freedom of the media in Turkey.
In July 2007, KHRP co-organised a mission with Article 19, Index on Censorship, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and the Centre for European Studies, Limerick, Ireland in response to reports of rapidly increasing violations of the right to freedom of expression.
Its main findings were that despite the reforms of 2003 to 2004, there has been a substantial and rapid regression in freedom of the media. This is mainly attributed to the slow-down in the EU reform process and the manner in which new legislation is being interpreted and applied by the state apparatus.
The report underlines that the greater debate on the infamous Article 301 of the new Penal Code against Turkish intellectuals has led to a lack of discussion or awareness of the equally-controversial and far-reaching Articles 220 (8) and 216 of the Penal Code and new Anti-Terror law. These articles have been widely used against ordinary, notably Kurdish and pro-Kurdish journalists and reporters. The mission also found questionable the common dismissal of opposition journalists imprisoned or under investigation as working for ‘terrorist newspapers’ or not being ‘proper journalists’ by the state apparatus and larger media groups, and believes that attacks against them ultimately endanger freedom of the media in Turkey as a whole.
Given that the mission found growing scepticism of both Turkey and the EU’s commitment to the reform process, it calls on the Turkish authorities to urgently lift its prohibitive restrictions on Kurdish language broadcasting and to repeal all aspects of the new Penal Code, new Anti-Terror Law and Police Powers law that are incompatible with international human rights norms. The mission further urges the EU to uphold its commitment to the reform process, by providing practical support to Turkey’s accession bid and by continuing to closely monitor its performance, particularly with regard to freedom of expression.
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