September 25, 2023

25.09.2023 – SEEMO Condemns Journalist’s Sentencing and Calls for Press Freedom in Türkiye / Turkey

Turkish journalist Sinan Aygül has been sentenced to six months in prison on Tuesday 19 September 2023, as a result of his investigative journalism work.

Aygül serves also as the President of the Bitlis Journalists Association and works as the editor-in-chief of Bitlis News (

This case is compounded by a separate incident in which Aygül was physically assaulted on 17 June 2023 in Tatvan district of Bitlis by two individuals. In an unexpected turn of events, these attackers were released.

The situation surrounding Aygül highlights the ongoing challenges faced by journalists in Türkiye / Turkey, where media freedom has faced increasing limitations. Türkiye / Turkey has repeatedly drawn criticism from international organizations for its treatment of journalists.

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) strongly condemns the sentencing of Turkish journalist Aygül. SEEMO underscores the importance of a free press in every democratic country. It calls on Turkish authorities to respect media freedom, refrain from using legal actions to suppress investigative journalism, and create an environment where journalists can work without fear of retaliation. Türkiye / Turkey must uphold its commitments to safeguarding press freedom and the rights of journalists as an essential component of a democratic society. SEEMO stands in solidarity with Sinan Aygül and all journalists facing similar challenges in the pursuit of truth and accountability.

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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