Thursday, March 1, 2012

Independence of journalists threatened in Turkey

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has published a deep analysies on the current situation of journalists in Turkey. The country is being accused of using the law to repress journalists. Currently 105 journalists are in prison in the country. It is the world leader in imprisoned journalists. The report of CPJ says that “A critical journalist in Turkey these days needs a lawyer on standby.” This topic was also lately in the agenda of Anonymous, the internet hacker group who defends liberty of expression worldwide. They broadcasted a video called “Open Letter to the World’s Journalists” asking solidarity from the world journalists for the ones in prison in Turkey.

The situation is sad because first of all freedom of expression and press is seriously threatened by politicians. Second, the media ethics are in great danger. One of the crucial principals of journalism is independence. According to the media ethics journalists must maintain an independence from those they cover. It shouldn’t be difficult to imagine the repression on the Turkish journalists who are not in prison (yet) while covering political news. Currently journalists in Turkey are not able to do their work properly because they are afraid of being penalized. They are right because each day a new law against them is being proposed or approved.

This repression and fear is causing another important problem: Censorship! Many journalists are being censored either by their editorials or by themselves (self-censorship). According to an academic study titled: “Research within the context of civil disobedience: censorship and auto-censorship from a journalistic perspective” 84.5 percent of the respondents (all journalists) found the censorship and pressure by the government very significant while 77.6 percent of them said auto-censorship by journalists is a very significant problem. Therefore the Turkish public isn’t able to read independent news. This is a real challenge for democracy and an important issue as the country is being launched as an emerging economic and regional power which is shown as a model to the Arab revolutionary countries.

Sources: CommitteetoProtectJournalists, HurriyetDailyNews, Today'sZaman

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