Turkish journalists marched behind a banner of penguins, chanting slogans such as “Free press cannot be silenced.” Some of the banners read: ‘Don’t target, don’t detain, don’t arrest, don’t threaten, don’t censor,’ ‘End the pressure’ and ‘Let us do our job.’
Journalists gathering under the banner of the ‘Journalists’ Platform’ came together at Galatasaray Square at 7 pm. to protest against what they termed the continual violence, pressure and threats they have faced at the hands of the police since late May, when the Gezi Park protests began.
The demonstrators, who included representatives of various media outlets, also protested the arbitrary detentions and arrests, firings and acts censorship and self-censorship that have occurred since the demonstrations began.
Police arrested journalists even after they had shown their official press cards, private broadcaster IMC TV’s Gokhan Bicici said, while others complained of having their equipment seized by authorities. ETHA news agency journalist Arzu Demir also accused the police of sexually harassing her while searching her house during a raid on June 18th.
The journalists marched behind a banner of penguins in a direct jibe at CNNTurk, which became the target of widespread ridicule and mockery at the beginning of the protests in late May when it decided to air a documentary on penguins instead of covering the demonstrations. The penguins were subsequently adopted as a symbol of the self-censorship that many news organizations, particularly the mainstream media, demonstrated during the initial stages of the protests.
The group began a sit-down strike after nearly 100 police blocked their way toward Taksim Square outside Galatasaray High School with two water cannon, however, the group was ultimately not subjected to any police attack.