President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has speeded up his oppression on journalists and media by filing complaints and bawling out especially within the last three months. Erdoğan points himself, as a “natural leader” of the presidential and cabinet meetings, and the ultimate decision maker in every field.
During this three month-period in which various social reactions and complaints has arisen concerning the Peace Process, the clearing up inside the governmental institutions against Fethullah Gülen community and the corruption; various laws that ignore the freedom of organizing and protesting were enacted in the parliament on the eve of the General Elections of June 7.
Also, in addition to the new regulation which allows censoring the website and their contents within 4 hours in order to prevent mass critics and objections on social media against the prime ministry and the ministers, Internal Security Law has been enacted, easing the strip, personal belongings’ and cars’ search of the individuals and the media representatives, and allowing to cast out from the radius of actions and telephone tapping. The Prime Ministry, for the first time, imposed a temporary broadcast ban based on Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) Law, after appearing the images of the hostage prosecutor in Çağlayan Courthouse on social media.
BİA January-February-March 2015 Media Observation Report reveals "the intensive juridical oppression and the police violence" against the citizens, the journalists and the freedom of express within the environment in which the government empowers itself in terms of juridical aspects, at the cost of cutting the freedom and despite the national and international civil society.
World Press Freedom Day?
Turkish media enters the list of World Media Freedom on May 3 at the 149. rank among 180 countries and with intensive abuses: During the period of January-March 2015, 6 journalists were tried as per Anti-Terror Law, facing up to 143 years of imprisonment; each day, accreditation system hit the “undesirable” media. 3 journalists and 2 cartoonists were sentenced to 16 months 20 days of reprieved imprisonment and 21 thousand Turkish Liras by the reason of insulting Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
49 news, 312 Twitter messages, Facebook, 3 news portals, 2 journalists, 2 films, a book, 2 columnists, and a picture were censored. ECHR condemned Turkey to pay EUR 22.983 (approx. 64.452 Turkish Liras) of indemnity in total for 18 individuals including 2 journalists. Also, Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed 5.480.245 TL of administrative fines in total to Radio and TV channels.
Headlines from the Media Observation Report
BIA Media Observation Report consists of the headlines “murdered journalists”, “incarcerated journalists”, “attacks, threats and bans”, “investigations, opened-ongoing lawsuits, verdicts”, “insults, personal rights, and indemnity cases”, “interdictions, closures, withdrawals”, “ECHR” and "Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).
Jailed Journalists:Most of the imprisoned from Kurdish media
Over three months, the trials of the journalists have continued by applying Turkish Penal Code and Anti-Terror Law. In the trials, the journalists and the distributors / media workers were accused of “being a member of an armed illegal organization”, “aiding the illegal organization” or “establishing and conducting an organization” through journalism activities.
23 journalists and 9 distributors entered the month of April in prison. 14 of the journalists and the all distributors represent the Kurdish media and are kept in jail for ties with “an illegal organization” as per Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
These months last year, 35 journalists and 15 distributors were keeping in jail. While 17 journalists out of 35 were convicts, 17 of them were defendants and, one of them was under investigation. By the end of the year 2014, 22 journalists and 10 distributors were in jail. 18 of these journalists were convicts, 3 of them were defendants and one of them was under investigation.
Among 23 journalists who have been jailed on April 2015, 14 journalists are incarcerated for the lawsuits, ‘Group of Communities in Kurdistan – Turkey (KCK)’, ‘Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)’ and ‘Democratic Patriotic Youth (DYG)’; others are for the cases of ‘Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP); ‘The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party - Front (DHKP-C)’; ‘The Resistance Movement’, ‘Communist/Leninist Labor Party of Turkey (TKEP/L)’; and İBDA/C, also 1 journalist is jailed due to the case of using top secret documents. In addition, one journalist was tried due to being member of three illegal organizations (Ergenekon Organization Mersin branch, Turkish Revenge Union Organization and The Internal Organization). 19 of 23 journalists are convicts, the trials of 2 journalists are going on and 2 of them are under investigation.
Among 35 journalists who has been jailed on April 2014, 22 journalists are incarcerated for the lawsuits ‘KCK/PKK/DYG’; 4 of them for the lawsuit 'DHKP-C’; 4 of them for the lawsuit ‘MLKP’, one of them for the lawsuit ‘The Resistance Movement’ and one of them for the lawsuit ‘İBDA-C’, also the organization of one journalist is unknown. One was in prison as a result of Gezi Resistance's operations, and one was in prison due to the claim of ‘espionage’.
By the end of year 2014, among 22 journalists who has been in prison, 14 journalists are incarcerated for the lawsuits ‘KCK/PKK/DYG'; others are for the cases of ‘MLKP’; ‘DHKP-C’; ‘The Resistance Movement’; 'TKEP/L’; ‘İBDA-C’. Also, one journalist has been in prison due to lawsuit ‘Parallel organisation’. In addition, one journalist was in prison for being member of three illegal organizations (Ergenekon Organization Mersin branch, Turkish Revenge Union Organization and The Internal Organization).
1 columnist murdered, 10 journalists exposed to violence
By the first quarter of the year 2015, 1 journalist was killed, 10 journalists were attacked and 1 verbal attack occurred. 7 journalists and 4 newspapers were threatened; 2 journalists’ houses were searched.
In the same period of 2014, 35 journalists, 1 daily news, 1 news agency and 1 website were assaulted by at least 40 attacks. Along the year of 2014, 142 journalists, 2 daily news, 1 newspaper printing house, 6 websites, 1 twitter account were attacked; there were 23 verbal attacks and threat against the journalist and the press.
Detention for the Universal Media
Between January and March 2015, 7 journalists and a social media person were detained. Two of them were from international media. Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink was detained for “making propaganda of PKK via Twitter” from his home in Diyarbakır Province. In the same period of 2014, 12 people were detained. Along the year of 2014, 72 people were detained.
“Terror” law and 301st article
Between January and March, according to TMK (Turkish Civil Code), 6 journalists received 143 years of imprisonment or were sued against; two of them were acquitted.
In the same period of 2014, during the TMK trials, along the year of 2014 a journalist received 16 years and 3 months of imprisonment and 4 journalists received 268 years 6 months of imprisonment.
In this period, 3 journalists were sued for “violation of privacy and attempting to affect the judgement”, 17 journalists were complained for “provoking for loath and hostility”. Eren Keskin, a Co-Editor in Chief from newspaper Hukukçu ve Özgür Gündem, received 10 months of imprisonment according to the 301st article. With the claim of insulting, a journalist received a year and 15 days of imprisonment, another journalist was acquitted. In 2014, 10 journalists were fined 14.280 Turkish Lira and received 3 years 5 months and 9 days of imprisonment for “provoking for hostility”, “insulting moral values” and “insulting” according to Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
Between January and March 2015, different kinds of prosecution office made 22 summaries about Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies and Peoples’ Democratic Congress members. Last year in the same period, the number of summaries made were 37; along the year of 2014 the number was 129.
Ban and censorship
Between January and March 2015, 3 websites, 2 journalists, 2 films, 1 book, 2 columns and 1 picture were censored. Prime Ministry banned the news about the Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz temporary. Kiraz had been taken hostage. Judicature banned the news about vehicles belonging to Turkish National Intelligence Organization had been stopped and searched in Hatay and Adana Province. 49 news, 312 Twitter message and a content on Facebook about Prophet Mohammad were censored. 17 media organ were censored and exposed to discrimination.
Last year in the same period, two broadcast ban were imposed, 7 websites, 2 Facebook pages, 2 banners, 1 film were censored and 4 newspapers were banned to sell.
Suit for libel, still 9 defendant
Between January and March 2015, 2 journalists were fined 4.420 Turkish Lira, 9 journalists still on trial, 6 of them were acquitted and 2 of them were sued once again. 4 journalists and 2 newspapers were fined 1.520.000 TL.
Last year in the same period, a newspaper and 20 people were sentenced to 31 years and fined 41.000 TL.
Punishment for insulting “Erdoğan”
3 journalists and 2 caricaturists were punished for insulting the president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and sentenced to 16 months and 20 days and fined 21.000 TL. Journalist Barış İnce and columnist Ender İmrek were sued for insulting the president. In Çanakkale and İzmir Province, 7 people were fined 100 Turkish lira as judicial fine.
Also, actress Nazlı Gonca Vuslateri, model Merve Büyüksaraç, Psychiatrist Dr. Ahmet Koyuncu and a High School student M.E.A have been on trial for insulting Erdoğan.
Tens of members from Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), United June Movement (BHH) and Peoples’ Communist Party of Turkey (HTKP) were detained, arrested and prosecuted for criticizing Erdoğan for corruption.
Between January and March 2014, 19 people were fined 27.000 TL and sentenced to 31 years for insulting Erdoğan or violating his personal rights.
Along the year of 2014, 2 journalists were sentenced to 11 months 20 days to be suspended and fined 7.000 TL; 61 people were sentenced to 31 years 2 months 15 days and fined 332.660 TL
Between January and March 2015, at least 8 journalists and media workers were fired or had to quit their jobs. Last year in the same period, the number was 60. Along the year of 2014, 339 journalists, writer and media workers were fired or had to quit their jobs
Four sentences from European Court of Human Rights
In the last three months, European Court of Human Rights fined Turkey to pay 2 journalists and 18 people 22.983 Euro for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages with the violation of freedom for expression.
In the same period of 2014, ECHR fined Turkey to pay 2 journalists and 1 media organ 21.553 Euro. Along the year of 2014, this penalty was 135.612 Euro.
5 million TL Penalty from RTÜK
Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed 27 warnings, 87 penalty to TV companies, 2 warnings and 2 penalties to the radio companies. Total amount was 5.480.245 TL as administrative fine.
In the same period of 2014, there were 25 warnings, 53 penalties to TV companies; 6 warnings and 7 penalties to the radio companies. Along the year of 2014, there were 78 warnings, 254 penalties to TV companies; 12 warnings and 14 penalties to the radio companies. (EÖ/BD/KU)