Turkey’s press bodies slam government for favoring 'pro-government media'

Turkey’s press bodies slam government for favoring 'pro-government media'

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s press bodies slam government for favoring pro-government media

Turkish Education Miniser Nabi Avcı (C) is accused of inviting only pro-government media to a press meeting. AA photo

Both of Turkey’s most authoritative press bodies have condemned the government and the Education Ministry over “biased accreditation practices,” following a recent press conference on the controversial prep schools issue.

“We condemn the Ministry of Education because of the accreditation practice [that they have in place],” the Press Council (Basın Konseyi) said in a written statement issued yesterday.

The Press Council said only pro-government newspapers and broadcasters were invited to the press conference that was held on the prep schools row, which has been causing tension to run high between the Turkish government and the "Hizmet" (Service) Movement led by the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

The Turkish government announced that it would shut down private education courses in a bid to render the education system one that ensures equality for all.

The Gülen Movement, which owns approximately 30 percent of prep schools in Turkey, has since escalated its vehement opposition to the government concerning the issue.

“A democratically-elected government has overstepped the boundary with regards to freedom of press. We call on the government to cease measures hindering the public from receiving news,” the statement also added.

Similarly, the Turkish Journalists’ Association (TGC) also issued a statement yesterday, calling for an end to preferential treatment in government accreditation processes, which it claimed were biased against “media that is not pro-government.”

Only NTV, Kanal 24, A Haber, Sky Türk, Habertürk, Beyaz TV, Kanal 7, TRT and state-run Anadolu Agency were invited to the press conference in question while CNN Türk, Kanaltürk, Samanyolu TV, TGRT, Cihan News Agency, Doğan News Agency and İhlas News Agency were not invited, according to TGC.