Cumhuriyet’s arrested CEO rejects claims of publishing policy change
AP photoThe arrested CEO of daily Cumhuriyet has denied claims that the embattled newspaper has changed its publishing policy in recent years to ally with the Gülen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Akın Atalay, who was arrested on Nov. 13 on “terror charges,” said in his court testimony before arrest that the daily has editorial independence.
“Even if the publishing policy of Cumhuriyet changed, that is an issue concerning readers not investigators or prosecutor’s offices,” he told the court, stressing that no publishing policy can be “imposed upon Cumhuriyet through legal means.”
“In all crimes committed through publications, it is clear who bears responsibility for the crime. In the constitution and the TCK [Turkish Criminal Code] there is the principle of individual penal responsibility. Cumhuriyet is the oldest and most renowned newspaper in Turkey, with a principle of editorial independence. The meaning of that principle is to prevent owners and managers from interfering in the publishing business,” Atalay added.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) have visited the Silivri Prison in Istanbul, where Cumhuriyet executives and journalists are currently jailed pending trial. CHP deputies Veli Ağbaba and Nurettin Demir later conveyed messages from the jailed staff, including editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu.
“We are hurting, but we know that our innocence will be understood soon. We want freedom for all prisoners of thought and opposition figures. We only bow in front of our readers and the people, not anybody else,” Sabuncu said, stressing that he stands behind the news articles that are accused of assisting terrorist groups.