The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) Human Rights Examination Board issued an analysis report on "researching alleged violations of the presumption of innocence by certain news in the media". In the report it is stated that "the rules of journalism and of ethics in the media, which are valid for the internet as well, must not be forgotten".
The report suggests abolishing legal provisions that obstruct press secretaries of the judiciary from conveying information to the media. If necessary, media and public relations offices can be established in the judiciary in order to create proper communication channels and pass on non-confidential documents to the media, the report requests.
"A correct flow of news should be provided by creating the necessary units within official institutions. The aim is to prevent misleading information, particularly concerning incidents that are closely related to society and to legal issues, and to eliminate lack of knowledge".
The following members of the media were consulted for the report: Cumhuriyet newspaper publication director İbrahim Yılmaz, Kanal D and CNN Türk publication director Mehmet Ali Birand, NTV publication director Ömer Özgüner, Zaman newspaper general publication director Ekrem Dumanlı, head of the Press Council and Hürriyet newspaper editor in chief Oktay Ekşi, Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) President Prof. Dr Davut Dursun, Television Broadcaster Professional Union (RATEM) board president Yusuf Gürsoy, his deputy Dursun Güleryüz and Prof. Dr Haluk Şahin, director of the Bilgi University Faculty of Communication television journalism program and Radikal newspaper writer.
Certain results of the report
A "judicial news editor" should be considered as an alternative by media institutions in order to prevent possible technical mistakes made by the media on news related to judicial topics. Court correspondents should receive training regarding basic legal information and principles.
Professional standards in the media should be raised. The professional awareness of the media staff should be improved in regular seminars, panel discussions and courses organized by professional organizations and institutions.
Individual rights should be taken under stronger legal protection and individuals should be informed about legal procedures in case of violations.
The structure of RTÜK should be reviewed. Legal and structural regulations should be implemented that provide a more functional way of auditing and regulating.
In order to achieve real press freedom, a broad media-related polyphony should be made possible by legal regulations which prevent press monopolies. Union rights should be guaranteed by regulations that help creating an environment where press staff can pursue their profession more freely.
The rules of journalism and of ethics in the media, which are valid for the internet as well, should not be forgotten. Developments of the fast growing information sector should be reflected in their legal equivalents. Legal regulations should not fall behind the developments in this field; instead, they should meet the current needs.
The report is signed by Gökhan Sarıçam, Kırklareli deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Chair of the Sub-Commission, AKP Istanbul deputy Edibe Sözen, Republican People's Party (CHP) Sivas deputy Malik Ecder Özdemir, National Movement Party (MHP) Izmir deputy Şenol Bal and Democratic Left Party (DSP) Istanbul deputy Ayşe Jale Ağırbaş. (EÖ/VK)
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