Republic of bans

Republic of bans

From 2010 to July 2014, there were 149 publication and broadcast bans in Turkey. As of January 2015, this number exceeded 155. In four years, there have been 155 bans. 

Turkey is now the hell of media bans. 

Not the full 155, but several selected examples will come to mind. 

The publication and broadcast ban over the case that was opened following the match-rigging investigation in 2011. 

The media ban on the Uludere incident, where 35 civilians were killed in a bombing. 

The media ban imposed on news stories related to the Turkish Armed Forces war plane that was downed by Syria while flying on a reconnaissance mission on the Turkish-Syrian border.

The media ban on the news related to the stealing of the questions of the nationwide Public Personnel Selection Examination (KPSS) in 2012. 

The confidentiality order issued by the court in a case where 34 defendants, public employees among them, were tried for raping a 14-year-old in Adapazarı. 

The media ban on the bloodiest terror act in the country in Reyhanlı, where 52 people lost their lives and 146 were injured. 

Upon the appeal of Reza Zerrab, one of the defendants of the Dec. 17, 2013, investigation, the media ban on all kinds of news, interviews and criticisms. 

The media ban on the investigation into the bugs found in the office and home of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The media ban on news related to voice recordings from a security summit at the Foreign Ministry. 

The media ban on the news related to the attack when Deputy Police Chief Atıf Şahin and police captain Hüseyin Hatipoğlu were killed in Bingöl. 

The media ban on the armed attack in Yüksekova, where three soldiers died. 

The media ban imposed on news related to the 49 Turkish citizens kidnaped from Turkey’s Consulate in Mosul. 

The media ban on the case about the intervention of TIR trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in Adana and Hatay.

The media ban imposed by courts in Turkey is transformed into fines by the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK). As a matter of fact, there is a contradiction with European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judgments in terms of freedom of the press. 

On the publishing of official reports in the media, the ECHR stresses the necessity of the media to base their information on official reports. 

Despite that, special media bans unique to individuals and incidents are imposed in Turkey. For instance, RTÜK did not impose a fine for the violation of Reza Zarrab’s media ban when Zarrab appeared on television.

When there is a publication criticizing Zarrab, on the other hand, it did not hesitate to impose sanctions based on the media ban. 

It is apparent that those who refer to court verdicts apply these decisions on a completely arbitrary basis. 

We cannot think; it is banned. 

We cannot speak; it is banned.  

We cannot report; it is banned.

We cannot be informed; it is banned.

Well then, how are we going to research freely without receiving information, monitor the truth? How are we going to think? How are we going to form our opinions? How are we going to be free? 

Those individuals and societies who are not fed adequate and accurate information cannot act freely. There is a limitation to limitations in democracies. Here, this limitation has reached such a point that freedom has become a meaningless show. 

We are/were never as free as we wish to be; yes, that’s true. 

But we have never been enslaved to this extent either.