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Several journalists' associations denounce government censorship of the media in Turkey

Different organizations such as the Association of European Journalists in the Ottoman country issued an official statement criticizing President Erdogan's media law
Protests by journalists in Turkey

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Turkish government brought a law proposal to the Parliament, renewing the Press Law, which will impose sanctions on internet, social media, newspapers and introduces up to 4.5 years imprisonment for those "disinforming" the public, "creating worries, fear and panic" among people.

Several journalists’ associations define this law as a "censorship law" aimed to silence all oppositional voices before the critical election due June 2023, if not held earlier. For weeks these organisations were organizing a campaign, protests against the law. And now they have issued an official statement denouncing the situation.

In Istanbul and in several provinces they organized street protests and made joint statements and journalists organizations, including AEJ Turkey Representation, organized the biggest of those protests in the Ulus Square of Ankara.

Protestas de periodistas en Turquía

Below is the joint statement made in Ankara:

"Its name is Press Law, but there is no press in it, there is pressure.

Its name is the Press Law, but it does not help journalism.

For weeks, we said to the power holders in the Parliament that 'the press law cannot be made without listening to the journalists', we made suggestions, we objected, but in vain. They did not pay attention to a single word of ours.

For this reason, we came here from all over Turkey, as the largest press professional organizations of our country. We demand withdrawal of the law and to make it in consultation with journalists.

Do not think that we do not want disinformation to be prevented. But the way to do this does not go through imprisonment as in the law. The Judge of the Court of Cassation also clearly warned during the debate of the law in the Justice Commission that this law would create confusion and arbitrariness in the judiciary during its implementation. But they didn't listen...

There are articles in the law that will lock the door of the written media. So much so that the Anatolian local press was ignored and discarded. Approximately 1000 newspapers will face closure, with their official advertisements, which are their source of life, to be cut off to a large extent. The regulation, which will lock the print media with the changes regarding the distribution of press announcements, does not include any improvement in the personal rights of our colleagues. We made these criticisms, we told all these, we wrote them, but they did not listen.

This law violates fundamental human rights, freedom of communication and freedom of the press. That is against the Constitution. It is against our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In this respect, it is an obstacle not only to the freedom of journalists but also to the freedoms of the whole society.

This law, which creates the crime of publicly spreading false information and imposes a prison sentence of 3 years, will prevent the whole society from writing, criticizing and sharing messages on social media. This law will create a wave of social self-censorship. Therefore, it is not just a journalist's problem.

Why is this prison sentence being brought? How will this be implemented? How will a healthy political discussion environment be ensured with this law, which was enacted less than a year before the elections? How will the confusion and arbitrariness that will arise in practice, as in the opinion of the Supreme Court, be prevented? We asked these questions many times, but no answer was given to us in the Assembly.

For these reasons, we are here at the last exit before the tunnel, as professional press organizations.

We all call out in front of the Atatürk Monument.

In this law, we say that there are no journalists, no opinions of journalists, there is no freedom of the press.

We say once again that this law includes silencing, intimidation and imprisonment.

We journalists want this law to be withdrawn."

Protestas de periodistas en Turquía

AEJ Turkey Representation

Progressive Journalists Association

DISK Press Workers Union

Economy Reporters Association

Journalists Society of Ankara

Journalists Society of Izmir

Media and Communication Workers Union

Parliament Correspondents Association

Photo Journalists Association of Turkey

Journalists Society of Turkey

Journalists Confederation of Turkey

Journalists Union of Turkey

Association of News Cameramen of Turkey

Women in Journalism Coalition of Turkey

NOTE: In the banner we opened "NO TO THE LAW OF SILENCING, SCARING, JAILING! PRESS IS FREE, CANNOT BE CENSORED!"