imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Turkey Targets Press Freedom

by Stephen Lendman Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 at 3:48 AM


Turkey Targets Press Freedom

by Stephen Lendman

No country imprisons more journalists than Turkey. Ragip Zarakolu understands well. He's a prominent human rights activist/publisher. He's a former Nobel Peace Prize nominee. He's been maliciously targeted for years.

In 1998, he won the International Publishers Association (IPA) International Freedom to Publish Award. He couldn't attend the Frankfurt ceremony. Authorities confiscated his passport.

In 2003, he received the NOVIB/PEN Free Expression Award. In 2008, IPA gave him a second Freedom to Publish Award.

In March 2012, he was imprisoned. He was targeted after receiving the Assyrian Culture Centre's Assyrian Cultural Award. It honored his human and minority rights advocacy.

He's been wrongly charged with state crimes more than 70 times. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted of current terrorist-related ones. His trial begins in April.

He's one of thousands of journalists, lawyers, activists, and others accused of belonging to or aiding and abetting the Kurdistan-based Union of Communities. Turkey conflates it with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Zarakolu calls charges against him "state terrorism." Turkey is part totalitarian, he says. Authorities target journalists and intellectuals urging "Kurdish question" solutions.

An atmosphere of fear prevails. Widespread arrests follow. No one's safe.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) calls itself "an independent nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide."

It reported on "Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis: The Dark Days of Jailing Journalists and Criminalizing Dissent."

"(A)uthorities are waging one of the world's biggest anti-press campaigns in recent history," it said.

"Dozens of writers and editors are in prison, nearly all on terrorism or other anti-state charges. The evidence against them? Their journalism."

Turkey's press freedom "reached a crisis point." Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan imprisons journalists "on a mass scale."

He denigrates free expression. As of August 1, 2012, CPJ identified 76 Turkish journalists imprisoned. They're held for what they write and say.

Charges are entirely spurious. They include "committing a crime on behalf of a prohibited organization, aiding and abetting (it) knowingly and willingly, making propaganda for (it), and (supporting) its objectives."

Other penal code provisions prohibit journalists from "breaching the confidentiality of an investigation (or) influencing a fair trial."

They criminalize independent, in-depth coverage of police and court-related activities. They impose censorship. They're used with "disturbing frequency."

At yearend 2011, up to 5,000 criminal cases against journalists were pending.

Pro-Kurdish news is called terrorism. About 70% of jailed August 2012 victims were Kurdish journalists. They're charged with aiding and abetted the PKK.

About 30% of them were charged with participating in anti-government plots or belonging to outlawed political groups.

Several were linked to an alleged Ergenekon conspiracy. Authorities call it a military coup plot to overthrow Turkey's government.

Officials say news coverage creates societal chaos. Doing so is conducive to coup plotters, they claim. They say whatever they want to say to bring charges. Spurious ones follow.

Two prominent journalists were targeted - Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener. They were imprisoned for over a year. They were released pending completion of their trials.

At issue was Sik's new book. It's a work in progress. Authorities alleged it aided and abetted Ergenekon coup plotters.

Sener said he was targeted for his own book. It discusses government's failure to solve editor Hrant Dink's 2007 murder.

Authorities conflate favorable PKK coverage with terrorism. News-gathering activities and reporting risk imprisonment. Doing so violates Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression," it states.

"This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers."

This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises."

In suppressing press freedom, authorities banned words they don't want used. Calling PKK members "guerrillas" is prohibited. Saying so "legitimize(s) terrorists and terrorism," they claim.

Turkey is more police state than democracy. All countries have national security concerns. Suppressing press freedom is no way to confront them.

Equating dissent with terrorism is tyrannical. Incremental reforms change nothing. Turkey's penal code is repressive. Dissenting on Kurdish policy is called "terrorist propaganda."

Journalists have trouble reporting on court cases. Article 288 compromises them. It lets authorities charge them with "attempting to influence a fair trial."

Article 285 invites charges of violating confidentiality. Article 301 criminalizes "insulting Turkishness." Applying repressive provisions is entirely subjective.

Supportive media propaganda gives authorities a big edge. Turkey blurs the line between inciting violence and freely expressing ideas and opinions.

Ergodan and his government "must exert the political will to abandon the systemic suppression of critical views and dismantle the country's vast system of media repression," said CPJ.

On February 5, the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Silk Road Studies Program headlined "A House Divided Against Itself: The Deteriorating State of Media Freedom in Turkey."

More "pernicious" and "corrosive" than imprisoning journalists, it said, is "widespread self-censorship and the climate of fear." It extends across Turkish society.

Its press never was free. Censorship varied over time. Authorities never lacked complicit journalists. They willingly support official policy.

They report "untruths." They operate like Western media. They regurgitate officials lies. They support powerful interests. Television is worst of all. Viewers expect news and information. What's broadcast falls woefully short.

Turkish newspapers have more columnists than reporters. With few exceptions, journalistic standards are low. "Little attempt is made to substantiate news reports."

Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure. More "sound than sense" follows. Thoughtful reasoning is sorely lacking.

What passes for investigative journalism "consist(s) of a compendium of reports and rumors selected to support the author's preconceptions."

Corroboration is lacking. Journalists rarely defend press freedom. A well-known saying goes: "The Turkish translation of freedom of speech (says) the less you talk the longer you'll be out of prison."

Methods used to suppress dissent are similar to ones used earlier. After Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) took power, he usurped media control.

Authorities seized the Sabah-ATV group. At the time, it was Turkey's second largest media organization. It was sold to Calik Holding. It's owned by a close Erdogan associate.

Calik had trouble financing the deal. Two state-owned banks provided funds to do so.

In September 2008, Dogan Holding (DH) was Turkey's largest media organization. It reported embezzlement details. Doing so implicated Erdogan associates. They worked for the Deniz Feneri Islamic charity.

DH paid dearly. It was fined over .5 billion. It was levied for alleged tax evasion. It responded by toning down AKP criticism. It fired outspoken journalists. Its tax fine slipped quietly under the radar. It effectively disappeared.

AKP authorities relentlessly pressure owners. Go along or lose operating licenses and business permits. Corporations are urged to advertise with government-friendly media.

These type issues aren't new. Previous governments bought favorable media coverage. Print and broadcast sources got lucrative state contracts and/or "soft" loans from state-owned banks.

What's different today is AKP's power. It's unprecedented. It takes full advantage. It applies enormous political and economic pressure. It exceeds what previous governments could do.

Turkey's repressive climate is unequaled. It's most striking on television and pro-AKP broadsheets. They suppress opposing views.

They collude with security forces and police. They're the main force driving government-sponsored smear campaigns. They intimidate. They silence dissent.

They compromise rule of law principles and due process. They support wrong over right.

They call fabricated evidence real. They facilitate arrests and prosecutions. They let Erdogan govern like a tinpot despot.

Had they stood tall together and defended press freedom, he never would have been able to do it.

On February 6, Harvard University's Harvardgazette headlined "In Turkey, problems for press," saying:

In July 2011, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News foreign news editor/columnist Ferai Tinc quit. She did so saying "Reporting is not happening now. Everybody's afraid. There are only official statements, only" state-friendly journalists.

Press freedom in Turkey is Soviet-era "Pravda-like." Dozens of journalists are imprisoned for saying what authorities want suppressed.

Since Erdogan's AKP took power, Turkey's media landscape consolidated to a half-dozen pro-government conglomerates. Others face pressure and censorship to be supportive.

Ankara's Anti-Terrorist Act targets investigative journalists. It implicates them in alleged anti-government coup plots. None exist so Erdogan invents them.

It's common practice to suppress dissent and enlist public support. Press freedom is democracy's "pillar," said Tinc. Problems can't be solved without it. Justice is sorely lacking. Fabricated lies substitute for hard truths.

Academics and artists are targeted. Some quit and leave. Others voluntarily self-censor. Otherwise they risk imprisonment. Police states operate that way. Erdogan mandates it in Turkey. He shames himself in the process.

Conflating critics with terrorists doesn't wash. Erdogen's in denial. The European Court of Human Rights says so. Guilty again, it said, for suspending the publication and distribution of newspapers critical of government policies.

In its 2013 World Report, Human Rights Watch highlighted serious Turkish human rights abuses. They include compromising press freedom, assembly, association, violence against women, and excessive security services force.

Anti-terror laws overstep. They violate basic freedoms. HRW's senior Turkey researcher, Emma Sinclair, says:

"If the government is serious about its latest moves to address the Kurdish issue in Turkey, freeing the thousands of detained peaceful Kurdish political activists, journalists, human rights defenders, trade unionists, and students would be a good first step….Turkey needs to make human rights a priority in its approach to all of its citizens."

It falls woefully and abusively short. Dark forces target state enemies. Erdogan's more despot than democrat.

He's averse to governing responsibly. He prioritizes unchallenged power. Opposition isn't tolerated. Imprisonment is a hair's breath away. Nothing in sight suggests change.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy