Turkish journalists hit street to denounce police brutality during Gezi protests
The journalists, who marched behind a banner of penguins, chanted slogans such as 'Free press cannot be silenced.' Some of the banners read: 'Don't target, don't detain, don't arrest, don't threaten, don't censor,' 'End the pressure' and 'Let us do our job.' DHA photoJournalists gathering under the banner of the “Journalists’ Platform” came together at Galatasaray Square at 7 p.m. to protest what they termed the continual violence, pressure and threats they have faced at the hands of the police since the Gezi Park protests began in late May.
The journalists, which included representatives of a number of different media outlets, also protested the arbitrary detentions and arrests, firings and acts censorship and self-censorship that have occurred since the demonstrations began.
Police have arrested journalists even after reporters show their official press cards, private broadcaster IMÇ TV’s Gökhan Biçici said, while others complained of having their equipment seized by authorities. ETHA news agency journalist Arzu Demir also accused the police of sexually harassing her while searching her house during a June 18 raid.
The journalists marched behind a banner of penguins in a direct jibe at CNNTürk, which became the target of widespread ridicule and sarcasm at the beginning of the protests in late May when it chose to air a documentary on penguins rather than cover the demonstrations. CNNTürk’s penguins were subsequently adopted as a symbol of the self-censorship that many news organizations, particularly the mainstream media, demonstrated during the initial stages of the protests.
The group began a sit-down strike after close to 100 police blocked their way toward Taksim Square outside Galatasaray High School with two water cannon, but the group was ultimately not subjected to any police attack.
Before the journalists’ march, activists also gathered in cities around Turkey, including Tünel on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue, to commemorate Dora Özer, a transsexual who was found murdered in the Aegean province of Aydın’s Kuşadası district on July 9.