Int’l editors urge for ensuring press freedom in Turkey in letter to Erdoğan

Int’l editors urge for ensuring press freedom in Turkey in letter to Erdoğan

Int’l editors urge for ensuring press freedom in Turkey in letter to Erdoğan

Supporters of Gülen movement shout slogans during a protest outside the Kanaltürk and Bugün TV building in Istanbul, Turkey, October 28, 2015. Reuters Photo

A group of international editors and news publishers have penned an open letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 30 on the eve of the Nov. 1 general elections voicing concerns over the retrogressive state of press freedom in the country. 

The letter, signed by more than 50 members of World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), World Editors Forum (WEF), International Press Institute (IPI) and International PEN,  listed the recent attacks targeting journalists and media outlets in Turkey including the attack on daily Hürriyet HQ, the assault of Hürriyet columnist Ahmet Hakan, the seizure of Gülen-linked Koza İpek Company and the detention of VICE News journalists.

“On the eve of an important election on Nov. 1, which will be of concern and interest to those in Turkey and internationally, the Turkish government’s failure to support and to protect journalists where necessary is undermining the country’s international reputation and damaging its standing as a democracy. We share widespread concerns that recent events are part of a concerted campaign to silence any opposition or criticism of the government in the run up to the election,” said the letter signed by more than 50 prominent editors around the world, including Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times; Michèle Léridon, global news director of Agence France-Presse (AFP) and David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker.

The international editors also pointed to the rising “culture of impunity” in the country hindering journalists from doing their work and the government’s setback on condemning the attacks targeting journalists.

“As editors, we are dismayed to see individual journalists, along with publications and media groups targeted in this way. We are increasingly concerned at the impact on reporting events in Turkey fully and accurately, both at home and abroad. We urge you to foster a culture where press freedom is fully respected,” the letter concluded.