Probe into Doğan Media Group ‘worrying’: European Commission
Güven Özalp – BRUSSELSThe European Commission has said the investigation launched against the Doğan Media Group for allegedly making “terrorist propaganda” was the latest in a series of “disquieting infringements” of media freedom in Turkey, daily Hürriyet has reported.
“The decision to open criminal proceedings against the Doğan Media Group, following allegations that its coverage of the fighting between government forces and the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK amounts to terrorist propaganda, is the latest in a series of disquieting infringements of media freedom within Turkey,” the European Commission said in a statement, adding that freedom of expression should be respected in Turkey and that EU membership for any country was directly tied to it.
“As a pillar of any society, freedom of expression and freedom of the media need to be protected in Turkey in line with its leadership’s commitment to upholding European and international standards guaranteeing full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights,” it said.
The statement said free, diverse and independent media was the backbone of a democratic society for informing citizens and making them actively involved in the society around them.
“Free, diverse and independent media are essential in democracies in order to ensure an informed, active and engaged citizenry. It cannot be taken for granted,” it said.
The Commission also recalled that it had repeatedly called upon Turkey, which remains an EU membership candidate country, to respect freedom of expression.
“Further steps towards accession with any candidate country depend on the full respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights,” it said.