Ministry refutes report on imprisoned journalists

Ministry refutes report on imprisoned journalists

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ministry refutes report on imprisoned journalists

Some 200 journalists stage a protest in Istanbul for imprisoned journalists. DHA photo

The Ministry of Justice yesterday denied that there are journalists in Turkish prisons jailed in direct relation to their work or newsgathering activities, rejecting a recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “These people are not journalists but members of terrorist organizations. Do bombings and killing policemen have anything to do with journalism? The CPJ attempted to act as a high court as it did not accept the Supreme Court of Appeals’ decisions,” the ministry’s written statement read.

The CPJ report issued on Oct. 22 said 76 journalists were in prison in Turkey, and said this was in large part down to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. “The Turkish government is engaging in a broad offensive to silence critical journalists through imprisonment, legal prosecution and official intimidation,” the report said.

The ministry statement did not directly refer to the names of arrested journalists such as Ergenekon case defendants Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan, whose trials are ongoing.

In response to the accusation that “Over 100 journalists are deprived of their freedom as a result of their professional activities,” made during the preparatory stage of the CPJ report, the ministry asked for a further assessment of this list to be made and for the outcome to be reported to them.

However, the CPJ did not reply to their request, according to the ministry’s statement.

“There is a deep gap between the CPJ’s 2011 and 2012 reports. In 2011, the committee said there were only eight people on trial because of their journalistic activities, whereas in its 2012 report a list of 76 people was issued. Most of the names cited in the 2012 report were also on trial or in prison last year. It is worth asking what criteria the CPJ used to categorize these people as journalists in 2012, the same people it did not categorize as journalists in 2011,” the ministry said.

Journalists hold protest

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

Nearly 200 journalists staged a protest in Istanbul for imprisoned journalists in Turkey on “Stand up for Journalism Day,” which was dedicated to journalists in Turkish prisons by the European Journalists’ Federation. The counter terrorism law should be changed as it is open to interpretation, head of the Progressive Journalists’ Association (ÇGD)Ahmet Abakay said.