BIA Freedom of Expression Desk has published its “Media Observation
Report” for the period of July-August-September. The Desk has been informing
the public regularly about the rights violations regarding the media, the
reporters and the freedom of expression since 2000. In addition to the
international freedom of expression institutions such as IFEX, RSF, CPJ,
Article XIX, the Media Observation Reports has become an important source for
the European Commission and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe AGİT as well.
To the arrangements that
limit the freedom of communication was added No. 5651 Law on Internet Crimes,
after the Law on Struggle against Terror, the Turkish Penal Code and the Law
for Protection of Atatürk.
The global vide sharing
site youtube.com has been banned for six months now for having videos insulting
to the memory of Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. The internet site of
dailymotion was banned for one month. Geocities.com has been banned for eight
months. The internet site of gundemonline.com was banned by a court order, too.
Internet censorship is
widespread, the judiciary is following Oktar’s lead
Creationist Adnan Oktar’s
“insult to one’s personality” complaints led the courts to ban the internet
sites egitim-sen.org.tr (of the education and scientific workers union),
turandursun.com (of Turan Dursun) and anarsist.org. The internet users are
raising their voices against closing of the whole sites because of one
BIA Media Observation
Desk’s July-August-September 2008 Media Monitoring Report determined that 116
people, 77 of whom journalists, are being prosecuted for expressing their
opinions, reporting rights violations by the state or condemning such
violations in 76 different cases.
According to the 32 page
report, daily Yeni Şafak was attacked, Turan Aktaş, reporter for daily Taraf,
was manhandled by the police and the internet sites antenna.org and
ortakpayda.org were hacked.
A reader of daily Birgün’s,
Tutku Türkol, was taken into custody and harassed. Journalists Mustafa Balbay
and Ufuk Büyükçelebi were taken into custody in connection with the Ergenekon
Writer Murat Coşkun
received prison sentence of one year and
fifteen days for committing the crime of
“provoking hostility among people” with his book titled “Acının Dili
Kadın” (Woman, Language of Pain),
published by Peri Publishing in January 2002 with. He is still in prison. Local journalist
Hacı Boğatekin of Gerger, who was in prison for 109 days after arrested for his
critical publications against the local prosecutor, Kurdish politician Mahmut
Alınak, who was arrested for proposing Musa Anter’s name for a street in the
city of Tunceli, and unionist Meryem Özsöğüt, who was arrested for taking part
in Kevser Mızrak’s commemoration, were released.
Attacks against the
journalists go unpunished, Dink’s murder trial is in its second year
Discussing the cases of the
220 people, the report presents the violations under the following headings:
“Attacks and threats”, “Custodies and arrests”, “Cases and attempts”,
“Arrangements and seeking of rights”, “European Court of Human Rights”,
“Reactions to censorship”, and “RTÜK implementations”.
The developments in Dink’s
case shows that these kind of political murders cannot be solved only through
judicial means, without the support of the political will.
The police officers who
broke the arm of Ali Deniz Uslu, reporter of daily Cumhuriyet, and beat Esra
Açıkgöz did not appear before court. In Beytüşşebap in the eastern Turkey,
DHA reporter Emin Bal was convicted of insult after he filing a complaint
against the police officers who manhandled him.
Censorship of every type
for the sake of “security”
Not used to be questioned
about its operations, the General Staff takes the questions about Dağlıca and
Aktütün ambushes as matters of strategy.
Office asked daily Taraf to turn in the documents used for the article titled
“Dağlıca Ambush Was Known”. The court banned the internet site gundemonline.com
and suspended the newspaper Alternatif for one month for publishing statements
by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
Hayat TV’s broadcasting
was cut by the Türksat authorities following a warning by the Security Branch
of the Ministry of Interior on the grounds that it was aiding the pro-Kurdish Roj
TV. The “mistake” was fixed three weeks later.
Gökçer Tahincioğlu and
Kemal Göktaş, who had made a news report about the power of tapping the
telephones the Police Department, the National Intelligence Organization and
the Gendarmerie were given, are on trial for “publishing confidential
documents” and “making the judge a target”.
The Prime Minister targets
the media and the humor
Targeting president of the
Doğan Media Group Aydın Doğan and unable to control himself, Prime Minister
Erdoğan attacked the International Press Institute (IPI) and the World
Association of Press Councils (WAPC) for their statements defending the press
Upon Prime Minister’s
complaint, Malih Kaşkar of the newspaper Milas Önder (Milas Leader) was sentenced to prison
for telling a joke in his article. Likewise, weekly comic magazine Leman is
sued for damages for making fun of Prime Minister’s sentence that “We did not
take the science of the West, but its immorality.”
36 people are on trial for
While the cases filed under
article 301 are sent to the Ministry of Justice for “permission to prosecute”,
that the article remains in effect leads to new cases. The Great Union Party
(BBP) administrators filed a complaint against journalist Ahmet Altan and Adnan
Demir, daily Taraf’s manager in-charge, for recognizing “the Armenian
Genocide”. Retired inspector Niyazi Uslay’s criticizing the military received
In the last three months,
15 journalists and 36 individuals have been prosecuted under article 301 in 18 cases. The
Ministry of Justice granted permission for the prosecution of Temel Demirer
under article 301 for stating that Hrant Dink was murdered “for recognizing the
genocide.” 22 individuals in 15 cases were being prosecuted under article 301 in the same period of
the last year.
Five cases were filed
against thirteen people for “influencing the court” with their articles,
reports and statements. Two of these cases resulted in acquittal. The six
journalists from Batman who criticized the operation that resulted in the death
of Mizgin Özbek are facing imprisonment.
Bülent Ersoy, Perihan
Mağden, Gökhan Gençay, İbrahim Çeşmecioğlu, Birgül Özbarış and Yasin Yetişgen
are on trial for defending conscientious objection and being antiwar.
Eight are accused in “hate”
Eight people are on trial for the charge of
“provoking hatred and agitation” in five cases. DİHA reporters Oktay Candemir
and Ercan Öksüz are on trial for their interview titled “Witness of the Zilan
Massacre talked”. Twelve people were prosecuted for the same crime last year.
Threat of 75 year
imprisonment and half a million euro in damages for “insult”
In three months, 36
individuals, 28 of them journalists, were prosecuted in 23 cases for the charge
of insult. They faced 75 years of imprisonment and payment of about half a
million euro in damages.
intelligence officer on duty in Trabzon
before the murder of Hrant Dink, sued bianet.org for 12.500 euro and NTV for
45.000 euro. Feyzullah Aslan of the Police Department is asking from writer
Fikret Otyam and journalist İdris Özyol 10.000 euro.
Commemorating Deniz Gezmiş
is a “crime”
Commemorating Deniz gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and
İbrahim Kaypakkaya is still a crime after 35 years: Sibel Bulut, daily Atılım’s
manager in-charge, will be tried for “praising the crime and the criminal.” Ten
individuals, two of them journalists, were tried in seven cases in accordance
with article 215 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The Kurdish problem is
banned as a news topic
Istanbul’s 10th High
Criminal Court has fined daily Hurriyet’s reporter Sebati Karakurt
and managers Hasan Kılıç and Necdet Tatlıcan
fifty thousand euro for the interview conducted with the PKK
four years age, which was construed as “publishing the comments of the
terrorist organization” and “doing propaganda work for the PKK”.
Journalist Cengiz Kapmaz received
a ten month prison sentence for his interview with Orhan Doğan, which was
construed as “doing propaganda work for the PKK.”
Kurdish politicians Orhan
Miroğlu was sentenced to auto-censorship of five years for speaking Kurdish
while he was an independent deputy candidate for the Parliament.
The only good news…
The European Court of Human
Rights (ECHR) sentenced Turkey
to paying 6500 euro in damages in three cases. In the same period last year, 14500 euro was
paid to 32 individuals.(EÖ/EK/TB)