Media ban on Ankara blasts widely criticized
DHA PhotoA media ban on the investigation into the twin bombings in Ankara on Oct. 10 has been criticized by politicians from the three opposition parties and jurists, while the Ankara Bar Association took legal action against the ban.
An Ankara court issued on Oct. 14 a broad media ban including “all kinds of news, interviews, criticism and similar publications in print, visual, social media and all kinds of media on the Internet” covering the investigation into the deadly attack in the capital on Oct. 10.
All media outlets in the country have officially been notified of the decision, which brings in one of the broadest recent media bans and is effective immediately.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group leader Özgür Özel said the ban protected the government rather than the evidence in the investigation, as it was introduced only five days after the attack took place.
Recalling that a media ban was initiated to ensure security of evidence collection and reaching the perpetrators of the attack, Özel said that this ban had another aim.
“We all have seen that the evidence was collected on live broadcasts. Many opinions and information were shared, particularly by the Prime Minister [Ahmet Davutoğlu], over the incident. The media ban was established five days after the incident only after the assailants turned out to be the names on the CHP’s Suruç and Adıyaman reports, and it was revealed that the intelligence and bureaucrats did not do their duties to stop them. This was a political decision to establish a media ban,” Özel added.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy leader Oktay Öztürk also criticized the ban, saying that it was “now natural” for the government to limit media freedom in Turkey.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş defined the ban as “an initiative to hide the cooperation” between the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), speaking in Ankara on Oct. 15.
The Ankara Bar Association officially appealed the court ruling banning media reports on the investigation into the deadly Oct. 10 suicide bombing.
The appeal was submitted to the 7th Criminal Court of Peace on Oct. 15, Ankara Bar head Hakan Canduran told daily Hürriyet.
Canduran said the ruling was given without justification, violating the right to access information and both the freedom of the press and expression. He said the decision not only violated Turkish laws and the constitution but also international conventions to which Turkey was a party.
Meanwhile, Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, a professor at Bilgi University's Faculty of Law said the decision was an intervention into the freedom of the press.
“This decision is playing ‘three monkeys’ in media. This amounts to one of the harshest interventions into the freedom of the press. It is not possible to evaluate the decision within a logical perspective,” Akdeniz said.
Prof. Dr. Ersan Şen, an academic, said a gap in the law was being used to ban media reports on the attack investigation, describing the ban as “unconstitutional.”
On Oct. 14, an Ankara court issued a broad media ban over the official investigation into the blasts. The ban included “all kinds of news, interviews, criticism and similar publications in print, visual, social media and all kinds of media on the Internet” covered by the investigation.
All media outlets in Turkey were officially notified of the decision, which brought in one of the broadest recent media bans and went into immediate effect.
Meanwhile, on Oct. 12 a restriction ruling over the bombing investigation was also delivered upon the prosecutor’s demand.
According to the ruling, lawyers will not be able to access information and documents from the investigation file, with some exceptions. The same ruling was made after both the Suruç and Diyarbakır bomb attacks earlier this year.
The Oct. 10 bombing targeting a peace rally in the capital city of Ankara left at least 99 dead and wounded hundreds, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country’s history.
From 2010 to 2014, Turkish media faced over 150 gag orders, Hürriyet reported last year. The subjects of the bans have included deadly attacks, corruption cases, the wiretapping of officials, a mining disaster and even football match-fixing claims.