Radical reforms needed to end judicial harassment of journalists in Turkey: RSF
Reporters Without Borders underlined that the previous reform package did not stop judges from “imposing disproportionate sentences” on journalists. DHA photoThe government’s long-expected judicial reform package must tackle all repressive laws if it intends to end the judicial harassment of journalists in Turkey, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated March 12.
Noting that the reform packages adopted in the past did not result in much significant progress, RSF emphasized that ambitious reforms were still needed to impede judges’ arbitrary interpretation of the law.
“Reducing the applicability of antiterrorism legislation to media cases would be a big step forward, one that has been postponed for too long. But to end the judicial harassment of journalists in Turkey for good, this new reform must tackle all the repressive laws. And it must be drafted with sufficient precision to avoid giving police, prosecutors and judges any room for misinterpretation,” the statement read.
The draft version of the fourth judicial package is currently being reviewed in Parliament and will likely be debated at the Justice Commission this week. Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin had stressed last week that the package would bring many aspects of Turkish legislation in line with the European Court of Human Rights’ standards, although the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) argued that the reform had only made very minor improvements on violations of human rights.
RSF underlined that although many procedures against journalists had been suspended, the previous reform package did not broaden press freedom as it did not stop judges from “imposing disproportionate sentences” on journalists.
“The taboos imposed by the nationalist ideology of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish Republic’s founder, are being compounded by a new generation of taboos stemming from the growing sensitivity of religious issues,” the statement read.