The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO), a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists from South East and Central Europe, expressed deep concern regarding cases of attacks against media outlets and journalists in Turkey in August.
18 journalists, including Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, have been indicted for publishing a photo of Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz being held at gunpoint in March. Kiraz was killed on 31 March following an eight-hour standoff that began after two members of the forbidden Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took him hostage in Istanbul’s Courthouse.
Other journalists from dailies Posta, Yurt, Aydınlık, Bugün, Millet, Şok, Özgür Gündem and BirGün were described as suspects in the indictment. The journalists plead not guilty. According to the office of Istanbul Chief Prosecutor, the publication of the photo amounted to “spreading terrorist propaganda”. He has made a request to the court that each of the journalists be jailed for up to seven and a half years.
In June 2015, President Recep Erdoğan personally filed a criminal complaint against Can Dündar requesting that the journalist be jailed. Hours earlier, he said that Dündar would pay a “heavy price” for printing photos of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks allegedly shipping weapons and ammunition to jihadists in Syria.
SEEMO also condemns the Turkish Telecommunications authority (TIB), which blocked access to Dag Medya, a data journalism internet portal. The website publishes articles covering political, social and economic topics. Citing a Turkish law on internet activity, TIB censored all access to the portal without a court order.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South East Europe and an affiliate of the International Press Institute (IPI). SEEMO’s press freedom work is supported by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) project, as part of a grant by the European Commission.