WAN-IFRA calls on Turkish gov't to respect pluralism in media
"The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting on 31 May in Washington D.C. during the 67th World News Media Congress, 22nd World Editors Forum and 25th World Advertising Forum, calls for the Turkish government to end its attacks on independent media and to recognise the value of a critical press to the democratic process, particularly ahead of scheduled elections in June.
"The Board of WAN-IFRA notes with alarm the request sent by the Ankara Public Prosecutor to Turkish Satellite Communications Company (TÜRKSAT), overseen by the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications, to deny use of the state-owned satellite infrastructure to certain critical and opposition media outlets.
"The request targeted in particular media inspired by the ‘Gülen movement’ that is subject to on-going scutiny as part of a widespread investigation into corruption, and that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claims has sought to overthrow the government by seeking to create a ‘parallel state’.
"The Board reminds the Turkish authorities that diversity of media is a pre-requisite of a democratic society. It urges the state to do everything in its power to ensure critical and opposition voices are afforded the necessary space to exercise their right to unhindered freedom of expression.
"Furthermore, the Board of WAN-IFRA denounces President Erdoğan’s recent condemnation of leading publication Hürriyet after he accused it of conspiring to incite a coup d’état. The Board calls on the Turkish government to urgently recognise the importance of plural voices within the media and to provide the conditions for independent sources of information to thrive, particularly as Turkish citizens head to the polls in only a matter of days.
"The Board of WAN-IFRA also calls on Turkey to release the remaining journalists still imprisoned because of their professional activities. The Board reminds Turkey that jailing journalists because of their critical coverage is in direct contravention of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that using anti-terror legislation to jail journalists is a flagrant abuse of executive power."