‘Alternative media’ new target of Gezi operation

‘Alternative media’ new target of Gezi operation

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Alternative media’ new target of Gezi operation

Police raid the Etkin news agency building in Istanbul early in the morning. Daily Atılım and Özgür Radio were also targets of the police operations. DHA photo

Some reporters working for Özgür Radio, Etkin news agency and daily Atılım were detained as part of operations launched against Gezi Park demonstrations.

The Progressive Journalists Association (ÇGD) announced that at least eight journalists had been detained and many more had been exposed to police violence.

“As a part of this, general editorial coordinator Sedat Şenoğlu of daily Atılım and Selvi Coşar of Özgür Radio were taken into custody after having their residences raided. It has been learned that the residences of the news editor of Etkin news agency, Derya Okatan, and ETHA editor and ANF reporter Arzu Demir were also raided,” ÇGD’s announcement read.

Özgür Radio news editor Önder Ömer confirmed the announcement. “The Interior Ministry called the detained journalists terrorists. We journalists are not terrorists, we only struggle for the people’s right to learn news,” Ömer said.

Ömer also mentioned the problem of the yellow press card, referring to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s previous statements that most of the arrested journalists did not have a yellow press card last year. “A yellow press card cannot determine who is a journalist and who is not. Also, many journalists work without insurance. How can they obtain a press card?” he said. Yellow press cards, which are the state-issued official certifications for journalists, are provided by the Prime Ministry.

Meanwhile, İMÇ TV reporter Gökhan Biçici was released yesterday after being detained on June 16. İMÇ TV news editor Hamza Aktan said his colleague had said Biçici was exposed to violence even though he had a press ID, adding that reporters aside from those in the mainstream media were always subjected to discrimination. Photographs of police officers harshly carrying Biçici were published on the media.

“In 2013, is the prime minister still the one who determines who is journalist? So, how could you follow freelance journalists and the share of citizens in such a process when the news spreads rapidly?” Aktan asked.

Ömer said there had been unlawful practices with regard to the detainments of journalists. “There is no data on the locations of the detained ones,” he said, adding that those having yellow press cards were also detained.

Also, daily Birgün’s news editor, İbrahim Varlı, said they were worried about the possibility that the pressure on alternative media employees could be more intense after the recent incidents. “They cannot tolerate the reporting of the facts and the alternative press,” Varlı said.