Using Terror Charges to Stifle Independent Reporting

May 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

May 10, 2012, J. David Goodman

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/using-terror-charges-to-stifle-independent-reporting/?ref=ethiopia

Friday 10:02 a.m. | Updated Prosecutors in the eastern African nation of Burundi are seeking a life sentence for 23 journalists, including one working for Radio France International, who have been charged with “participating in acts of terrorism,” according to Reporters Without Borders and local journalists.

The sentences were among the harshest punishments threatened during a disquieting spate of prosecutions using terror laws to quash independent reporting and stifle dissent.

In Ethiopia, a verdict was expected on Friday in the case of a prominent journalist and blogger, Eskinder Nega, who was arrested last year during a crackdown on journalists that saw broad antiterrorism laws applied to at least 11 reporters there. But the court in Addis Ababa said it would postpone the decision until next month.

Mr. Nega, who won a prestigious press freedom award this month, could face the death penalty if convicted of aiding terror groups with his reports, though his wife, speaking to The New York Times last week, said that such a severe outcome was unlikely. No journalist has been sentenced to death in Ethiopia, though several have received harsh prison terms, including two Swedish reporters sentenced to 11 years for their reports from a restive region of the country.

In Burundi, prosecutors said on Tuesday that if convicted, Hassan Ruvakuki, who works for the Swahili branch of Radio France International, and 22 others would face life sentences for charges stemming from reports on a violent rebel group.

Journalism advocates have questioned the basis of the charges and the impartiality of the judicial proceedings. “Conducting an interview is not an act of terrorism,” said Tom Rhodes, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, in a statement. “Burundian authorities are misusing the law to punish a journalist for airing material they did not like.”

A majority of the journalists, including Mr. Ruvakiki, refused to enter a plea, saying the trial was not being conducted under proper procedures. The others pleaded not guilty.

Similar charges have been brought against journalists in Turkey, as The Times reported earlier this year.

Nedim Sener, a veteran investigative journalist there who was looking into a terror network plotting against the government, found himself accused of abetting the very same terrorist organization, arrested and put on trial along with another reporter, Ahmet Sik, and several editors. The two reporters are now free on bail but still facing long prison terms if convicted.

OSCE media freedom representative calls for legal reforms after study shows 95 journalists imprisoned in Turkey

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, Bonn, 20 June 2011. (Deutsche Welle/K. Danetzki)

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, Bonn, 20 June 2011. (Deutsche Welle/K. Danetzki)

VIENNA, 2 April 2012 – Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, today presented an updated analysis on imprisoned journalists in Turkey and called for immediate reform of the nation’s media laws.

“The number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey has significantly increased in the past year,” Mijatović said. “This is worrisome and demands the immediate attention and swift action of the authorities.” « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey: The Powerful And The Paranoid

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Jess Hill
POLITICS   |   March 27, 2012
Turkey: The Powerful And The Paranoid
Turkey is powerful, prosperous and stable. So why is it locking up so many of its intellectuals?
“ We know that terrorist cells might include a university chair, an association or a NGO.” « Read the rest of this entry »

FOUR JOURNALISTS RELEASED BUT FIGHT GOES ON FOR DOZENS STILL HELD

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

PUBLISHED ON TUESDAY 13 MARCH 2012. UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY 14 MARCH 2012.

Reporters Without Borders warmly welcomes the release on bail of the investigative journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener and the OdaTV news website columnists Muhammet Sait Cakir and Coskun Musluk. However, their release should not hide the fact that dozens more media workers are still held.

“Naturally, our thoughts are with those journalists and their friends and families, who can finally see an end to their absurd nightmare after more than a year,” the press freedom organization said. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s enlightenment languishes, like the journalists in its prisons

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

, March 13, 2012

The record number of reporters imprisoned in Turkey threatens to extinguish the flame of democratic reform.

 

Turkish journalist Ahmet Sik (C) hugs his friends after he being released from prison in Istanbul. Photograph: Sinan Gul/Anadolu Agency/EPA

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2012/mar/13/turkey-enlightenment-journalists-prisons?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+theguardian%2Fmedia%2Frss+%28Media%29

A year ago, police burst into the homes of two of Turkey’s best investigative journalists, Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik, and carted them off to prison where they remained until last night, charged with crimes so nebulous even prosecutors can’t explain them. « Read the rest of this entry »

Press-ganging the Turkish Media

March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/turkeys-media-are-a-poor-champion-of-free-expression-thanks-to-government-control/#postComment

Andrew Finkel, March 13, 2012

ISTANBUL — The British say it about the police force, but the same may be true of the press: that a country gets the one it deserves. Woe is Turkey.

Turkey recently marked the 15th anniversary of what pundits call the “postmodern coup”: the military’s success at pushing out the Islamist-led coalition that was in power back then. The generals managed that in large part by press-ganging the print media, even forcing newspaper owners to fire prominent columnists who did not support their campaign to discredit the government.

The tables have since turned. Now the politicians have the military in retreat. Some 15 percent of senior officers are on trial for participating in the Ergenekon conspiracy, an alleged campaign of really dirty tricks intended to force the ruling AK Party out of office. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turkey’s Jailed Journalists

March 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

Dexter Filkins,March 9, 2012

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/03/turkeys-jailed-journalists.html

Quick: What country jails the most journalists?

If you guessed China, you were close, but no cigar. Twenty-seven reporters are in prison there, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. If you guessed Iran, you’re getting warmer—forty-two in prison there—but you’re still off. « Read the rest of this entry »

One year already behind bars: The absurd trial of Turkish journalists continue

March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Almost a year ago 13 journalists and writers were put behind bars because of the ODA TV case, which was about  an alleged shadowy pro-military conspiracy called Ergenekon allegedly plotted to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener were among them. While the absurd trial continued, the number of prisoned Turkish journalists was up to 104, thanks to the ‘advanced democracy’ of the ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party). Since March 2011, ODA TV case became one of the most symbolic cases about freedom of press in Turkey.

Accordingly, 13 defendants of the case were charged with having made critical news about AKP and Fethullah Gulen movement! In addition, these journalists were accused of  being involved in a plot to overthrow the government, being member of a terrorist organisation, etc…  Now it has already been one year, and there is still no proof or evidence pertaining to these accusations!

The new hearing of the case will be held on 12th of March 2012 (Monday) in İstanbul.

We, the journalists asking freedom for our friends, will be in the court house again on 12th of March 2012.

THEY CAN NOT SILENCE JOURNALISTS BY PUTTING US BEHIND BARS!

AHMET AND NEDIM WILL COME OUT AND WRITE AGAIN!

EVEN IF WE BURN WE WILL TOUCH! 

For more information:

Our blog page in English:  http://turkeypressfreedom.wordpress.com/

Our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ahmehnedimonurumuzdur/

Our twitter account: ahmet_nedim

List of Journalists in Jail in Turkey

March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://www.theglobetimes.com/2012/03/07/list-of-journalists-in-jail-in-turkey/

 

March 7, 2012

Below you will find the whole list of detained/arrested/convicted journalists based on their opinion, writings or publications (although in some cases even pre-publication.) This is the list of disgrace of democracy in Turkey. As of March 7, 2012 there are 104 (one hundred and four) journalists, writers or publishers arrested for their opinion in Turkish jails.

The list includes their position as a journalist/writer, the accusations (or convictions if any) and the last line is the name of the jail they are being held and their date of arrest.

Translated from Turkish original by ANGA (Journalist Friends of Ahmet and Nedim)

« Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish prime minister distorts state of press freedom – CPJ

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

https://www.cpj.org/2012/03/turkish-prime-minister-distorts-state-of-press-fre.php

New York, March 7, 2012–The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by the Turkish prime minister’s repeated use of CPJ statistics to misrepresent and undermine the serious repression faced by journalists in Turkey.

“Prime Minister Erdoğan should take no solace from our 2011 finding that eight journalists are in jail for their work,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Turkey is among the democratic countries with the highest number of journalists in prison. Our review of the charges and indictments in more than 100 outstanding cases of imprisoned journalists in Turkey is ongoing, and we will issue a comprehensive report later this year.”

In a speech today, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan cited CPJ’s 2011 imprisoned list to portray general alarm about press freedom as an exaggeration. In a letter to Prime Minister Erdoğan in December, CPJ made clear that his effort to downplay media repression in Turkey was misguided. To date, there has been no response.

Detained Turks focus debate on press freedom

March 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/04e94f32-6467-11e1-b50e-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1oThZ4Xu9

March 5, 2012; Daniel Dombey

Yonca Verdioglu has a clear memory of the morning, just over a year ago, when the police arrived at her Istanbul apartment to arrest her husband for writing a book.

Pablo, the family’s golden retriever, announced the visitors with a bark just before seven in the morning. Then the doorbell rang. Before long there were 11 police officers and five family lawyers in the flat, as officials scoured the premises for terrorist materials. “Some of the policemen were afraid of the dog,” Ms Verdioglu recalls. Seven hours after their arrival, the police left, taking with them Ahmet Sik, Ms Verdioglu’s husband. « Read the rest of this entry »

One Year On, Prominent Turkish Reporter and IPI World Press Freedom Hero Languishes in Prison

March 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

http://www.freemedia.at/index.php?id=288&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=6070&cHash=3b66bbc37b

Journalists Around the World Call for Nedim Şener’s Release

By: Steven M. Ellis, IPI Press Freedom Adviser for Europe and North America

VIENNA, Mar 2, 2012 – Journalists around the world today joined the International Press Institute (IPI) in condemning Turkey’s continued imprisonment of investigative journalist and IPI World Press Freedom Hero Nedim Şener, one year after he was detained in connection with an alleged coup plot.

IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: “The fact that Nedim Şener has been taken away from his family and locked up for a year on allegations that his journalism was a sham designed to protect those whose wrongdoing it exposed is both tragic and absurd. We call on Turkey’s authorities to immediately release Mr. Şener and his co-defendants in the Oda TV case pending trial, and to ensure that their trial is fair and fully in line with international standards of due process.” « Read the rest of this entry »

3 MARCH 2012: CALL OF INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY FOR THE JOURNALIST PRISONERS IN TURKEY

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


A mass protest will be held in Istanbul on the first year anniversary of the detention & arrest of Turkish investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener

Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, among more than 100 journalist prisoners in Turkey, will have been behind bars for one year already as of 3th of March 2012 because of the ODA TV case, which became one of the most symbolic cases about freedom of press in Turkey. The third hearing of the case will be held in on 12th of March 2012.

The 13 defendants of the case include well-known investigative journalists. All of them have made critical news about Justice and Development Party (AKP), the ruling party in Turkey. These journalists are accused of crimes like being involved in a plot to overthrow the government, being member of a terrorist organisation, etc… There was no proof or evidence pertaining to these accusations so far!

These accusations are obviously based on fictional grounds. During the tenure of his career, Şık focused on exposing human rights violations by the state, rings of corruption within the government and unveiling the abuses of the ‘deep state’. Prior to his arrest, he was working on an investigative book known as ‘Imam’s Army’, which was about how a powerful religious group led by Fethullah Gulen (a Muslim preacher and educator living in the United States, seen as an influential voice of opposition against secularism in Turkey) was organised within Turkey’s police force.

Police confiscated draft copies of the book during a raid on Şık’s family home on March 3, 2011. However the text has shown up on the Internet ‘in defiance of the law’ and was downloaded by many, which was a means of protesting the arrests. Recently the book was published in Turkey, as an act of civil disobedience with the signatures of 125 journalists and writers from Turkey. Şener, Şık’s prison mate, is also a vocal critic of crimes committed by the state apparatus. He was honoured by ‘the World Press Freedom Hero award’ by the International Press Institute for his investigative book about the assassination of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink in 2007, which has also gone through the alleged involvement of state security officials in the assassination.

Our group, ‘Journalist Friends of Ahmet and Nedim’ (ANGA) will hold a mass protest on the first anniversary arrests of Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener. Many journalists’ associations, democratic institutions, unions, political parties, intellectuals, artists will also join the protest. ANGA will call again the Turkish government to stop the oppression against journalists, to set all the journalists who are behind the bars free and to remove the anti-democratic anti-terrorism law (TMK) as well as the code of criminal procedure (CMK), which restrict freedom of expression and cause lengthy detention periods. The protest will begin on 3 March, at 11.00 AM (GMT +2:00) in front of the Taksim Square tram station. It will end in Galatasaray Square, where the press release will be read out, following a march along Istiklal Avenue.

Journalist Friends of Ahmet and Nedim (ANGA)

 

For more information:

Our blog page in English:  http://turkeypressfreedom.wordpress.com/

Our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/ahmehnedimonurumuzdur/

Our twitter account: ahmet_nedim

CASE OF TUŞALP v. TURKEY – European Court of Human Rights

February 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view.asp?item=1&portal=hbkm&action=html&highlight=TURKEY&sessionid=87057362&skin=hudoc-en

SECOND SECTION

(Applications nos. 32131/08 and 41617/08)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

21 February 2012

This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Turkish journalist awarded €5,000 after freedom of expression court victory

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

February 21, 2012 – European Convention of Human Rights

http://www.humanrightseurope.org/2012/02/turkish-journalist-awarded-e5000-after-freedom-of-expression-court-victory/

A journalist, critical of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been awarded €5,000 after judges backed his human rights complaint.

The European Court of Human Rights decided today that Turkish courts should not have ordered Erbil Tuşalp to pay damages for criticising the Prime Minister.

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case Tuşalp v. Turkey (application no. 32131/08), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

A violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights

The case concerned the complaint by a journalist of having been ordered to pay damages for defamation for having published two articles criticising the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. « Read the rest of this entry »

‘Treason’ in Turkey

February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Prosecutors wage war on suspected coup conspirators—but at what cost to the country?

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/19/democracy-is-the-victim-in-turkey-s-war-on-coup-conspirators.html
by  | February 20, 2012 12:00 AM EST
Turkey’s reform-minded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is nothing like his iron-fisted Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin—right? Think again. In both leaders’ countries, journalists who dare to criticize the government often end up behind bars. In Erdogan’s Turkey, as in Putin’s Russia, the ruling clique’s political adversaries have been hounded by courts and police and have spent months or years in jail without trial, while oppositionist businessmen have been slapped with ruinous tax bills. On at least two dismal indices, Turkey ranks even worse than Russia: Reporters Without Borders’ latest Press Freedom Index puts Turkey in 148th place, behind Russia at 142, and the European Court of Human Rights found Turkey guilty of 174 violations last year, while runner-up Russia had 133. « Read the rest of this entry »

Jailed journalists a sign of declining press freedom in Turkey

February 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-turkey-media-20120219,0,4791137.story

By J. Michael Kennedy, Los Angeles Times; February 19, 2012 / Reporting from Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey is often held up in the U.S. and Europe as a model of how democracy can work in a Muslim country. But activists say press freedom continues to erode.

One ofTurkey’sbest known publishers and human rights activists is sitting in prison — again — waiting for a court case that appears to be at a virtual standstill. He is far from alone.

Ragip Zarakolu was arrested in October along with dozens of other people suspected of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Case – 4: Being a lawyer in an adjudicated trial

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 27, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

http://outforbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/01/guide-to-understand-odatv-case-4-being.html

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings ofthe infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiaritiesas well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providingEnglish information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, wedecided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience. 
This fourth and last article of the series is freely translatedfrom the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 4Bitmiş davanın avukatı olmak, published onDecember 31st, 2011.
You can reach the previous articles by following the Odatvlabel. « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Case – 3: Barış Terkoğlu, and Journalism in Court

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 9, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

http://outforbeyond.blogspot.com/2012/01/guide-to-understand-odatv-case-3-bars.html

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings ofthe infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiaritiesas well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providingEnglish information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, wedecided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience.

This third article of the series is freely translated from the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 3Barış Terkoğlu ve gazeteciliğin yargılanması, published on December 29th,2011.

Editorial note: Since this article containsreferences to many other issues in Turkishpolitics, we decided not to prolong thetranslation with many footnotes but insteadskip some parts that are harder to catchfrom the context.

You can reach all the articles by followingthe Odatv label.

In this third part of our article series on the Odatv trial, we examine the parts of the indictment that are related to Barış Terkoğlu1. The indictment is based upon nothing more than his journalist activities.  « Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide to Understand the OdaTV Trial – 2: Were the digital documents sent through virus activities?

February 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yiğit Günay, January 14, 2012 (translation: Ege M. Diren)

The soL news portal published a series of articles concerning the background and the ongoings of the infamous OdaTV case. Signed Yiğit Günay, the articles investigate the trial’s judicial peculiarities as well as its political context and historical implications. Assuming the responsibility of providing English information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, we decided to translate these articles for the English-speaking audience.
This second article of the series is freely translated from the Turkish original, titled “Odatv davasını anlama kılavuzu 2Dijital dokümanlar virüsle mi geldi?”, published on December 26th, 2011.
In this second part of our article series on the Odatv case, we discuss if the documents claimed to be gathered from Odatv computers were embedded there through virus activities. As a matter of fact, whether they are sent through virus activities or not, the journalists should be released immediately.
The last expert investigation from the US is now complete. It states that the documents are infected. Are they really infected or not?
We should all be clear about one thing: It does not matter at all whether these documents are infected or not! « Read the rest of this entry »

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