Metin Göktepe Journalism Awards are presented with a ceremony for the 15th time this year. The awards, established in honor of daily Evrensel correspondent who was brutally killed under police custody are given to journalists who uphold the integrity of the profession by standing up to pressure and obstacles.
Ahmet Şık and Nedem Şener, who became the most recent symbols of violation of freedom of expression in Turkey after being kept in prison for a year in a widely criticized case, were the speakers at the panel discussion held before the ceremony.
Moderated by journalist Celal Başlangıç, "Being a journalist in Turkey" was the subject of discussion.
Prominent lawyer Fikret İlkiz sent a letter to the ceremony, where he stated that the power of journalists lies within their duty to inform the public of the realities of life. Journalists must stand in solidarity, İlkiz said calling on them to realize their power to stand against injustice.
Şık said that he questioned himself each and every day while behind bars; noting that the media is a "dirty business".
Criticizing the media's approach to their case, Şık said that the misinformation and deception evident in the news is not restricted to their case. He argued that the people belonging to the [Fethullah Gülen] movement, who are effective in state institutions categorize all people they see as a obstacle before their plans and target them with foul evidence.
"With the public opinion shaped by the media, prosecutors ask for arrests, judges oblige and you're taken hostage in prisons." He said he'll continue to write and to stand by the oppressed.
Şener also noted that the media is not clean, criticizing the unethical relations between police, judges and journalists.
The jury awarded Zeynep Kuray -who's in prison- work her article "There're Women, Women in Prison". Sabah daily correspondent Bilge Eser was awarded for her article on the suspicious death of private Sevag Şahin Balıkçı. Radikal daily correspondent Mesut Hasan Benli, Evrensel daily correspondent Elig Görgü, Show TV correspondent Ali Burak Ersemiz and cameraman Deniz Pirinççiler; NTV editor Mete Çubukçu, Dicle News Agency (DİHA) Mersin correspondent Zeynep Kuriş were also awarded.
Photography award went to Hurriyet Daily News correspondent Selahattin Sönmez and local media award was given to Rize's Nabız Journal.
The jury was composed of Belma Akçura, Nazım Alpman, Celal Başlangıç, Nail Güreli, Banu Güven, Fikret İlkiz, Kamil Tekin Sürek, Akmet Şık, Nedim Şener, Ece Temelkuran and Ragıp Zarakolu. (RDY/HK/EÜ)