Hürriyet questions media bans in Turkey
ISTANBULDaily Hürriyet has released an official statement after media organizations were banned from reporting on the parliamentary inquiry into corruption allegations concerning four former Cabinet ministers.
Stressing that such media bans had been common in Turkey’s past but were now returning, the newspaper urged the authorities to “address this critical question.”
This is the full text of the Hürriyet statement:
Living with Bans
Until recently, publication bans were just an unpleasant memory for senior journalists who were on duty during the era of military regimes. In 2014, however, such bans have returned as a practice of our day, not only of the past.
Unfortunately, such bans have become more widespread of late, and are put in place for almost every sensitive issue. Decisions to ban the publication of certain information, which were generally taken in the past on security and intelligence issues, are now spreading to other areas, including issues of corruption. The ban on reporting the parliamentary commission’s work to investigate corruption allegations, given by a civilian judge, is a first in this regard.
As a result, a practice that should be only an exception in a democratic society has become a general rule in our country today.
Democracies are regimes that breathe through the values of openness, the right for the people to be informed, and press freedom. These bans, in the end, take the breath of our democracy away, preventing the conduct of a healthy public debate about issues on the country’s agenda.
Moreover, these bans come at a time when a government is in office that takes pride in advancing democracy and expanding freedoms. They empty the meaning of this discourse and its plausibility.
Another worrying aspect of this problem is that Turkey is acquiring an international image as a “country of bans.” But how much longer can Turkey live with bans and continue to be thought of as such a country? This is a critical question that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu should urgently address.