Reporters Without Borders (RSF) expressed concern about the "frenetic rate" of prosecutions and investigations and warned that repressive media laws have imposed "a regime of censorship in Turkey and have had a disastrous impact of press freedom and free expression".
"Anyone making a public statement or writing a newspaper article that directly or indirectly raises subjects that are off-limits or untouchable, such as the Kurdish and Armenian minorities, the armed forces, national dignity or the Turkish republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is liable to be prosecuted", the Paris-based organization criticized.
RSF discounted the government's anticipated amendments of articles 285 (complicity in violating the confidentiality of a judicial investigation) and 288 (trying to influence the course of a fair trial") of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) as "cosmetics changes". The international organization emphasized that the TCK included more than 25 articles that "directly restrict press freedom and free speech".
Referring to the trials opened against journalists Rasim Ozan Kütahyalı and Temel Demirer, RSF called the Anti-Terror Law "the most problematic piece of law".
"The appalling state of press freedom is due not only to the extraordinarily repressive nature of these laws but also to the readiness of judges to exploit them to the hilt and often in an utterly abusive manner. Conversely, impunity continues to be the rule for crimes of violence against journalists".
The organization furthermore criticized delays and obstacles in the trials regarding the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.
"The legislative straitjacket makes journalism impossible. There is therefore an urgent need for the repressive articles in the criminal code and the anti-terrorism law to be overhauled or scrapped altogether in order to create a real climate of freedom of expression, information and debate on all issues".
Turkey ranks in 138th position among a total of 178 countries in this year's RSF press freedom index. (EÜ/VK)
Click here to read the full statement.
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