Turkish journalist association condemns police violence against press during Gezi protests
Riot police detain a demonstrator during protests at Kizilay square in central Ankara, June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Dado RuvicThe Progressive Journalists Association (ÇGD) has declared that they condemn the police violence directed at journalists during the Gezi Park protests in Turkey.
Journalists have faced violence by security forces especially in Ankara’s Kızılay Square and Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the administration board of ÇGD headquarters said in a statement released June 17.
The ÇGD also noted that Gökhan Biçici from İMC TV, among others, was exposed to brutal treatment, as he was beaten by five policemen, thrown to the ground and handcuffed before being taken into custody, while others were hindered from fulfilling their duties on the grounds that they do not have government-issued press cards.
The ÇGD said being a journalist did not require having a “yellow press card.”
A yellow press card is granted by the Press Card Commission based on criteria set by the Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) under the Turkish Prime Ministry. Accordingly, an applicant employed under the Press Law by an established media company for a minimum legal qualifying period can be eventually certified as “a journalist possessing a yellow press card.”
“Journalists are becoming targets to prevent the public from hearing about the ongoing police attacks. The real target of the attacks, which have been particularly directed at workers from opposition institutions, is the right to communicate in private, and universal human rights in general,” the ÇGD announced.
The ÇGD further urged government officials not to hinder journalists from doing their job and conveying the truth to the public, while demanding that freedom of thought and expression be granted.
“The police must take its hands off journalists,” the statement read.