Working Journalists’ Day marked in Turkey
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkish politicians have greeted Working Journalists’ Day on Jan 10, with messages expressing significance of freedom of press in the country.Turkey marked the Working Journalists’ Day on Jan. 10, which is celebrated when journalists conducted a march to obtain their rights and freedom of the press on Jan. 10, 1961.
President Abdullah Gül said freedom of the press is a must to allow the press to perform its responsibilities in a message released for Working Journalists’ Day.
“Press is a fundamental element for democracy. Free and neutral press strengthens democracy and provides a healthy public opinion, contributes to rights and freedoms, and informs the public about the truth,” Gül said.
“The most important condition for the press to perform its responsibilities is the protection of its freedom... It must be a priority for the press to refrain from methods that can harm its neutrality,” said Gül.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) demanded Parliament to research journalists’ problems. CHP Balıkesir deputy Ayşe Nedret Akova said 64 journalists are currently in jail in Turkey and demanded Parliament to find solutions for the journalists’ problems.
CHP deputy leader Yakup Akkaya said journalists are working under risky conditions in Turkey in a message he released to mark Jan. 10.
Akkaya said many journalists are working without having any guarantees for their social security and said the journalists’ job protection is left at the hands of the owners of the press organs. He also said the unemployment, low wages and informal work is widespread in this sector.
“There are 60 journalists in jail. More than 200 journalists have been fired or forced to resign in the past few months. More than 100 journalists were injured during the Gezi protests [that took place in May 2013 in Istanbul and spread across the country in the following months],” said Akkaya.
When Law 212, which brought important improvements to journalists’ labor rights went into force on Jan. 10, 1961, nine newspaper publishers decided to protest the law by not publishing their newspapers for three days. Journalists conducted a march as far as the governor’s office and gathered in front of the syndicate building in order to obtain their rights and freedom of the press on the same day. The journalists produced their own newspaper called BASIN (Press) on Jan. 11, 12 and 13, 1961.
After that date, Jan. 10 has been celebrated as the “Working Journalists’ Holiday.” After the March 12, 1971 intervention, as a reaction to the limitations put on the rights of workers and freedom of the press, the word “holiday” was removed from Jan. 10 and it began to be remembered as “Working Journalists’ Day.”