Turkey marks Working Journalists’ Day
“Working Journalists’ Day” has been celebrated since 1961 on Jan. 10, after Law No. 212, which regulates the rights of journalists including the legal guarantees, was published in the Official Gazette, and the date became a milestone for journalism in the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan released a message on Jan. 10 to mark the day. “As Turkey, while we will never give up the freedom of the press, we also will never allow abuse of the concept for use inside and outside as a black propaganda against our country,” Erdoğan said in a written statement.
“With the realization that our fair press and journalists have contributed to the strengthening of peace, tranquility and trust in our country, I firmly believe that they will fulfill the duty of correct information and continue to contribute to our democracy, taking into account the sensitivities of our nation,” Erdoğan stated.
Turkey has made significant progress towards achieving a more democratic, libertarian and polyphonic structure for the Turkish media, which was used as a “tutelage device in the past when our democracy was interrupted,” he said.
It is of vital importance to use the opportunities offered by the new media channels that come into our lives with the developing technology, without compromising the professional principles and press ethics, Erdoğan added.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu stated that the freedom of Turkish journalists was in danger as they were subject to a total of 479 trials in 2020, with 78 of them detained, 25 arrested and 17 of them were “battered and threatened.”
“If 68 journalists were in state prisons in 2020, we need to sit down and think. Again in 2020, if there was a blackout on televisions, an announcement embargo on newspapers, and a ban on access to accurate news, we need to sit down and think,” Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters at a press conference to mark the day.
“If the Press Advertisement Institution imposes a penalty of 333 days for publishing the right news in five newspapers, that is, if the Press Advertisement Agency is turning into a press execution institution, we need to sit down and think. There is no media freedom in a country with these. Media members are under pressure,” he added.