Press cards of 889 journalists canceled in Turkey in 2016: Justice Minister
The press cards of a total of 889 journalists have been canceled in Turkey, according to statistics released by Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül upon a parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ömer Fethi Gürer.
In his reply, Gül said some of the canceled cards belonged to jailed journalists, but they weren’t canceled “due to journalistic activities,” while citing several reasons for the practice, including “being member of an armed terrorist organization” and “attempting to remove the constitutional order,” daily Birgün reported on Oct. 15.
According to the minister, there were plenty of reasons behind the cancelations of 889 cards in 2016, with some of them being annulled due to journalists quitting their jobs, closure of the institution, national security policy, death, the date of the card being expired, lack of institutional documents, having another profession other than journalism, the journalist’s title or the media outlet they were working in not suiting regulations and the use of one’s press card by another.
Commenting on the statistics, Gürer said a significant number of the arrested journalists are in prison only because of their journalistic activities.
“Press freedom has become something that can’t be talked about in our country,” Gürer said in a written statement, while also citing data from the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) regarding 156 journalists and media staff being imprisoned in the country.
“Reports that the government doesn’t like are treated as elements of crime. We are in a process far away from the understanding that press is free and can’t be censored. A serious oppression and censorship process that hasn’t been named is ongoing. It must be ensured that the jailed journalists must be returned to their jobs,” he also said.