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The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has denounced Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım telling journalists to “take account of national interests when quoting international news sources critical of Turkey”.
Condemning the “patriotic journalism” directives and detention of dissident journalists, the RSF said, “This censorship has accompanied the Turkish government’s three-day-old military offensive against Kurdish fighters in northwestern Syria’s Afrin region”.
Reminding of PM Yıldırım’s meeting on January 21, concerning 15 “recommendations” the PM voiced, the RSF said, “the aim of the directives is to put the Turkish media at the service of the government and its war goals”.
In a written press statement, RSF Eastern Europe and Central Asia Chair Johann Bihr said:
“The new flood of propaganda, the increase in the witchhunt against critics and the almost complete absence of any debate about this military offensive all highlight the degree to which pluralism has collapsed in Turkey
“Not content with its stranglehold on the media landscape, the government is now trying to assert complete control over everything that the media report, at the risk of undermining public trust and fueling tension”.
RSF: One journalist was injured
In its statement, RSF said Ronahi TV cameraperson Zekeriya Şêxo was injured by Turkey’s army gunfire while covering fighting near Rajo, a town 30 km north of the city of Afrin. He was taken to Afrin with injuries to the stomach and legs that were not life-threatening.
Calling on the belligerents to “respect the civilian status of journalists”, RSF reminded journalists that RSF has a “safety manual for reporters operating in war zones that can be downloaded from its website”. (EC/EA/TK)
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