[QODLink]
Listening Post

The Turkish media muzzle

As Turkey has jailed more journalists than any other country, we investigate the red lines that restrict journalism.

Last Modified: 02 Apr 2013 14:24
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Ever since the election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party back in 2003 Turkey has been presented as a modern and mostly democratic state - a political model for the region.

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Ennahda party in Tunisia often say Erdogan and the AKP have proved that parties like theirs, which seek a greater role for Islam in politics, can govern and preserve democratic values.

But Turkey's image is suffering as a result of the prime minister's heavy-handed approach with Turkish journalists who refuse to toe the line.

A country of 75 million, Turkey has a multiplicity of media voices - 250 private channels, more than 40 national daily papers, hundreds of radio stations – most seem to adopt the party line; the exceptions, and there are a few, feel the heat.

In recent years, Turkey has jailed more journalists than any other country, thanks to the liberally interpreted anti-terrorism law, a law that highlights deep structural problems within the Turkish legal system.

In January 2013, 11 journalists were arrested during a raid on a Marxist political party meeting. Police said the group were planning to attack and murder government officials. Five of them were sentenced to jail, joining the 64 media persons already behind bars.

In the run up to the recently announced ceasefire between the biggest Kurdish Party, the PKK and the Turkish government, sensitivity over coverage was at its height – just days before the announcement, a prominent columnist, Hasan Cemal, suddenly disappeared from the pages of a leading paper, Milliyet.

And Erdogan's cozy relationship with conglomerates means he can squeeze the ones that own media outlets from all kinds of different angles.

To investigate Ankara's agenda for the media, Listening Post's Flo Phillips reports from Istanbul on the red lines that restrict Turkish journalism, and are even starting to affect entertainment programmes on television.

To discuss Turkey’s deteriorating state of press freedom, we speak with Yavuz Baydar, of Sabah newspaper; author Andrew Finkel; writer and political commentator Ece Temelkuran; and columnist for Hurriyet newspaper Mustafa Akyol.

"The reason why there are so many journalists in jail is about Turkey's not so democratically minded anti-terrorism law .... The great majority of the journalists in jail, are people who wrote things that are positive about the PKK, and Turkish legal system considered these as a crime."

- Mustafa Akyol, a columnist with the Hurriyet newspaper

420

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.
join our mailing list