VIENNA, 6 September 2016 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) harshly condemned the behaviour of Turkish authorities, after they confiscated video footage of an interview conducted between a Turkish minister and Deutsche Welle talk show host Michel Friedman.
Friedman, who hosts the talk show Conflict Zone, conducted an interview with the minister on 5 September in Ankara as a follow-up story on the failed coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July. The host asked the minister about the aftermath of the coup, including mass arrests and layoffs, the state of women’s rights, the current media situation in the country and some other questions.
The interview was previously scheduled to air on Conflict Zone, but as soon as it was finished, the minister’s press officer forbade Deutsche Welle from broadcasting the material. When Friedman protested this decision, the footage was confiscated by ministry employees.
The Youth and Sports Ministry of Turkey denied confiscating the material. “The team …gave us the unauthorized recordings.”, was officially said, According to the Turkish officials, the interview was not authorized because of “loss of impartiality” by the German journalist.
On the same day, two journalists were detained by authorities during an unauthorized rally in Ankara. Freelancer Can Ozen and Dicle News Agency reporter Mehmet Kurnaz were arrested while present at the rally, organized by the Kurdish political party HDP. The demonstrations were held in support of Abdullah Ocalan, an imprisoned leader of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
SEEMO also supports calls made by the European Federation of Journalists, asking that Evrensel daily reporters Cemil Ugur and Halil Ibrahim Polat be released immediately. The two journalists were arrested on 23 August, after reporting about the ‘freedom watch’ organized in the province of Mersin, also held for imprisoned PKK leader Ocalan. So far, no information has been provided by authorities about the condition of the journalists.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe and its 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.