Turkey has silently marked World Press Freedom Day, a day dedicated to defending media independence and paying tribute to journalists who have suffered consequences due to their journalistic activities, amid rising concerns over the decline of editorial freedom in the country.
Members of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) gathered in front of Galatasaray High School on central Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul for a press briefing. TGS chair Ugur Guc read a joint statement and stressed that all rights and freedoms, in addition to freedom of expression, have been suspended in Turkey.
“We are being threatened, insulted, beaten and arrested for reporting. But despite these [obstacles] we do not give up on attempting to reveal the truth,” Guc said, stressing they had taken to the streets on World Press Freedom Day in spite of attempts to criminalise journalism. He also called for the release of imprisoned journalists
Hurriyet also reports that Public prosecutor Evliya Caliskan has said that espionage charges against Turkish daily Cumhuriyet journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul, who are on trial for reporting on Turkish intelligence trucks allegedly transporting weapons to rebel groups in Syria, are “unfounded.”
However, Caliskan still demanded 25 years in jail for editor-in-chief Dundar and 10 years in jail for Ankara bureau chief Gul for “revealing state secrets,” Cumhuriyet reported.