Press council slams terrorism-related accusations against journalists
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA photoTurkey’s Press Council has said “journalists are not terrorists,” sternly criticizing the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s allegations of “propagandizing on behalf of terrorist organizations” against 18 journalists from nine separate Turkish dailies.
“Journalists are not terrorists. The charge of ‘propagandizing on behalf of terrorist organizations’ blamed on journalists is fabricated,” the council said in a written statement Aug 5.
Declaring the journalists who published a photo of former prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was killed after being taken hostage in Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse, “terrorists” was unacceptable, the council said.
The statement came less than a week after the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared an indictment against 18 journalists who are accused of “propagandizing on behalf of terrorist organizations,” which asked the court to jail them for up to 7.5 years each.
The journalists, including daily Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar, were charged after the investigation into the publication of photos on April 1, showing Kiraz’s captivity in the hands of militants.
Kiraz was killed on March 31 following an eight-hour standoff that began after Şafak Yayla and Bahtiyar Doğruyol, two members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), took him hostage in the Çağlayan Courthouse.
The indictment claimed that the journalists tried to portray a terrorist organization as “strong and capable enough for any action.” Dündar, on the other hand, said his newspaper “intended to portray the dark and ugly face of terrorism; not to legitimize it.”
In April, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lambasted media organizations for their coverage of the hostage crisis, accusing them of treason by being “partners of the terrorists” who were involved in the killing of the late prosecutor.