South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) condemns the Turkish authorities’ decision to imprison investigative journalist and book author Barış Pehlivan for the fifth time.
Pehlivan, born 1983, a former editor-in-chief of Odatv.com news site, who works today for the newspaper Cumhuriyet, received an SMS notification from the Ministry of Justice on 2 August 2023, instructing him to report to the Marmara Low Security Correctional Institution in Türkiye / Turkey between 1-15 August 2023. This order marks his fifth stint behind bars due to his journalistic work, with two of the previous incarcerations for one day occurring in February and May 2023 for his work.
Pehlivan’s troubles began on 6 March 2020 when he was arrested after he covered the funeral of a Turkish National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı – MIT) officer. Subsequently, he faced charges alongside fellow journalists Aydin Keser, BarisTerkoglu, Eren Ekinci, Hulya Kilinc, Ferhat Celik, and Murat Agırel. He was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison for allegedly exposing classified intelligence documents.
Following six months behind bars, Pehlivan was released on 9 September 2020 under the condition that he would not engage in further legal issues. Pehlivan, upon his release, emphasized that the case against him had no criminal basis and was intended to suppress his journalistic efforts.
According to the journalist, the officials informed him about violation of his freedom due to a new investigation into whether he committed “insult” with a column in Cumhuriyet.
Türkiye / Turkey’s status as one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists and its influence on the media landscape through legal actions, fines, and sentences.
The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) supported Pehlivan in a joint statement with other international press freedom organisations: https://seemo.org/ressources/08-08-2023-turkey-international-groups-condemn-fifth-imprisonment-order-against-journalist-baris-pehlivan-turkiye-uluslararasi-kuruluslar-gazeteci-baris-pehlivanin-besinci-defa-parmakliklar-ardi/
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) is a regional non-governmental, non-profit network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in Southeast, South, East and Central Europe. SEEMO members are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova (with the territory of Transdnestria), Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye / Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Austria, Italy, Vatican and San Marino have a special status in SEEMO. SEEMO has over 3000 individual members, and additional media as corporate members.
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