Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe

Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe

A friend of mine asked, “What do you think of the investigation launched against daily Cumhuriyet?”

Let me share my reply with you.

The 67th World Media Congress convened in Washington the other day. On Sunday [May 31] evening, we were invited to the American media museum in Washington, the Newseum. 

In one of the walls of the museum, there was a giant board with some of the following quotes engraved: 
The free press is a cornerstone of democracy. 

People have a need to know, journalists have a right to tell. 

Finding the facts can be difficult. Reporting the story can be dangerous. 

Freedom includes the right to be outrageous. Responsibility includes the duty to be fair. 

News is history in the making. Journalists provide the first draft of history.
These were engraved in the wall of the Newseum.

Well, what do the politicians say? 

In another wall in the museum, here is a quote from a politician: 

 “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.” The signature under the quote was “Abraham Lincoln...”

At the end of the event, we went up to the terrace of the museum, which overlooked a white building, the biggest art museum of Washington. On the right of the wide street in front, you could reach the White House. On the left was the Capitol Building. On one side it is the “executive;” on the other side is the “legislation” and an independent and impartial justice all over the country. 

The executive branch does not have the power to keep the Senate in the “waiting room,” nor does it dare tell prosecutors and judges: “Go and arrest this person, put him behind the bars...”

The Newseum is exactly in the middle of all these; it stands there, as the indispensable part of American democracy, as the biggest witness of the history of American democracy.   

Do you know what decision I made while inside that building? 

What do I think about the decision for daily Cumhuriyet?  

If it is not the free and impartial justice but the two lips of the powerful that determines what “treason” is in this country…

If, in this country, revealing the lies of the state is to be categorized as a terror act threatening the safety of the state, then we can only find peace embracing Abraham Lincoln’s quotation: Only when the people know the facts, then the country will be safe…. 

If the people do not know the facts, then this means that both the country and each of us as citizens are in danger. 

If a court case is opened against Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar, I will also be present at the courtroom where the hearing will be held to defend this argument.  

This is the decision I made at the terrace of the building that wrote the history of democracy in the United States of America.