Posted by: bluesyemre | June 28, 2013

Rights to Freedom of Expression and the channels used must be respected by Turkish Publishers Association

Since the Gezi Park protests, there have been many worrying strides towards the limitation of freedom of thought and expression. These strides, although said to be associated with the Gezi Park protests, are to be considered as totally independent events that may result in heavy, irreparable and tragic outcomes. They have already left deep scars in our history. We worry that the political implementations of the past few weeks may have left irreparable marks and wounds on our nation and people, while further constricting the channels of freedom of thought and expression.
Many journalist and authors, including Ahmet Şık, have been subject to violence and got injured in pursue of the Gezi Park Resistance. They were obstructed from doing their duty. TV channels’ cameras were destroyed during live broadcast. Numerous journalist, authors and poets were detained.
Artists, authors, journalists have been scapegoats on account of the fact that they have been supporting Gezi Park Resistance. Mehmet Ali Alabora, an actor, and Selin Girit, a reporter from BBC have been openly pointed as targets. They have been dismayed and threatened with death for expressing their point of view through social media.
Actors and actresses supporting Gezi Park Resistance are precluded from receiving roles in TV shows and commercials, while many journalists are being threatened to get fired.
TV channels that have showed the Gezi Park Resistance events in live broadcast have been fined large amounts on various grounds. They were threatened to be shut down.
International media, newspapers, TV channels have also been pointed as targets on the grounds of publishing news on or live broadcasting the Gezi Park Resistance. Their reporters are accused of being spies.
It is not the duty of the government or public officials to question the jobs, lives and the legal actions of artists and journalists, let alone threaten them. We are expecting the government and the public officials to stop threatening and pointing fingers at the media.
The aggression directed towards social media sites that are free channels of communication, such as twitter and facebook have been increasing each and every day. Personal information of the citizens that use social media have been attempted to be collected through various oppression tools, laws and regulations. Many that have been communicating through twitter have been taken into custody. Government officials have announced that legal regulations will be put into effect in order to control and restrain communication through social media.
Homes of those taken into custody have been searched; books and magazines were collected as criminal evidence. Collecting legally published books and magazines to be used as criminal evidence, asking the detained people during the prosecutorial interrogation their purpose for reading those books and magazines is a new kind of implementation both in the Turkish and international legal systems.
The mentioned manners and actions are not only against concepts of freedom of thought and expression, which are fundamental tenets of democracy, but also against several clauses of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed exactly 65 years ago, in 1948. We expect, and will go on expecting the government and public officials to respect people’s right to freedom of expression and the channels they choose to use.
Respectfully,
Turkish Publishers Association


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