CoE urges Turkish government to halt crackdown on press freedom
Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights.Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, has urged the Turkish government to halt its crackdown on press freedom and act in compliance with the rule of law and human rights, following a massive operation against journalists on Dec. 14.
“I am following with deep concern the events unfolding in Turkey. The arrest [Dec. 14] of journalists and media workers is a serious setback for media freedom in the country. Irrespective of the reasons that may have motivated them, such measures are disproportionate and unnecessary in a democracy,” Muiznieks said in a written statement issued Dec. 15.
The commissioner’s reaction is part of a wave of international criticism against the Turkish government after the operations that resulted in the detention of a number of senior journalists, including Ekrem Dumanlı, the editor-in-chief of the mass circulation daily Zaman along with 30 other people.
“They are as worrying as the waves of arrests of journalists in 2011 which were condemned by my predecessor in his report on media freedom in Turkey. Indeed, media freedom has been a long-standing problem in Turkey and such measures carry a high risk of canceling out the progress Turkey has painstakingly achieved in recent years,” Muiznieks also said.
“They send a new chilling message to journalists and dissenting voices in Turkey, who have been under intense pressure, including facing violence and reprisals. They are also likely to polarize Turkish society further and to increase public mistrust in the state’s ability to uphold human rights,” he added.