212 journalist faced trial, 13 were taken into custody. Access to at least 577 online news was denied. RTUK (Radia and Television Supreme Council) sentenced 9 TV institutions with judicial fine and 5 with stop programming. 31 journalist were forcely made unemployed.
BİA observation report covering July-August-September period, showed that 212 journalist faced trial on the basis of TCK, TMK, Capital Market, Bank Law, Protecting Law of Atatürk regulations with prison sentence request on accusations of “aiming constitutional order”, “terrorist organization membership or propaganda” , “defamation to president”, “insulting state institutions” and some of them were taken to prison.
The report reveals that at least 13 media workers (9 of them were at the “trustee” protestations) have been detained, three journalists (two armed assault, one police violence) were injured, and at least 577 Internet news items were barred by the Magistrates’ Court decision.
Economy news are the recent aim
Power and the judiciary have now begun to directly target economic journalism after journalism which has raised allegations of corruption: Two Bloomberg employees, journalists Mustafa Sönmez, Merdan Yanardağ, Sedef Kabaş and freelance journalist Orhan Kalkan faced trial by discrediting the economy with prison sentence request for 5 years each.
Journalist Cengiz Erdinç was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and 16,660 TL judicial fine on the grounds of at damaging the reputation of Ziraat Bank in his article “Financial Black Holes“.
In August 2014, when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected President, TCK’s 299th Article was widely used due to publications and thoughts about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.TCK’s 299. By October 1, 2019, at least 60 journalists had been sentenced to imprisonment, adjournment and fines because of this article.
The quarter experienced some satisfactory steps as well: The Constitutional Court took a stand in favor of freedom of the press and expression on issues of symbolic importance, such as police violence against journalists in Gezi protests, censorship of Hacı Lokman Birlik news on the BirGün website, and Peace Academicians. The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled for the release of former officials and employees of Cumhuriyet newspaper, who was held in Kandıra Prison for four months.
Custody at the “trustee” protests
During July-August-September 2019, at least 13 journalists and media workers were detained. Ten of the journalists were detained in the context of investigations and developments related to the “Kurdish Issue,, nine of which were trying to report actions against the appointment of trustees of HDP municipalities.
Istanbul Gaziosmanpasa Demirören News Agency reporter Umit Uzun, who wanted to monitor a traffic accident, was detained and handcuffed behind his back.
Seven journalists or media workers were detained in the same period last year. Five of these journalists had been detained under investigations related to the “Kurdish Issue”.
In 2018, in total 47 journalists were detained; 36 of them had been detained in police headquarters or Anti-Terror Branches while watching the developments within the scope of Kurdish issue.
Three assaults and widespread threat backed by government support
In the last three months, at least three journalists have been attacked, including two armed attacks and one in police violence; a media employee was attacked verbally and a journalist was threatened.
After The SETA Foundation displayed the officials of the dozens of international media representatives in Turkey as “Turkey Extension of international media organizations,”, former AK Party deputy and constitutional professor Burhan Kuzu threatened journalist Kadri Gürsel, who criticized him being ignorant over Twitter, with the words “You have gone through a lot yet not got smarter.” and lastly, President Erdoğan’s harsh words to FOX TV Reporter, who asked him questions about the Tank Pallet Factory in Sakarya, saying, “Save FOX TV from being a false media once, be honest once.” points to the harassment of the ruling circles towards critical journalism.
TCK, TMK, SPK, Banking Law
During the period July-August-September 2019, 18 journalists or media representatives were trialed with 10 times aggravated life-imprisonment request due to disrupting the unity of the State within the scope of journalism or political lawsuits. Eight of them were trialed with 416 years of imprisonment request due to “providing and publishing confidential documents belonging to the State”.
87 journalists were sentenced to 1333 years of imprisonment in total on charges of “terrorist organization management”, “Being a member of a terrorist organization”, “committing a crime on behalf of the organization without being a member” and “assisting the organization”.. Three of the cases were recently opened. Three people were faced trial to 28 years, 7 months and 15 days in prison. Three people were acquitted.
Within three months, 36 journalists or media workers faced trial to 234 years of imprisonment in total on the grounds of “propaganda for the organization”, “using the statements of the organization” or “targeting counterterrorists by revealing their identitiy”. Three of the cases were recent. As a result of the proceedings, four were acquitted and five were sentenced to a total of 14 years and 3 months imprisonment (2 years and 11 months with a postponement).
In the same period, six journalists faced trial to 12 years in prison for insulting state institutions; two were sentenced to a total of 10 months in prison.
Five journalists stood trial for a total of 25 years in prison for “incitement to commit a crime”; three of them were cleared. All three journalists were acquitted on charges of praising crime and a total of nine years in prison. The two reporters are facing a total of six years in prison for violating the confidentiality of the investigation”. A journalist faced trial up to four years and six months in prison for inciting hatred and enmity; one was investigated with the same suspicion.
Six journalists were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for alleged opposition to the Capital Markets Law, and another was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and 16,660 TL judicial fine from the ”Opposition to the Banking Law”. In addition, a journalist faced trial up to four years and six months in prison for opposition to the Law on the Protection of Atatürk, and was subsequently sentenced to one year and six months in prison.
A person who brought the problems in the health sector to the public agenda through the article (Bülent Şık) was sentenced to five years in prison for disclosing prohibited information, and was sentenced to one year and three months in prison.
Insult: 72 years in prison, 2 million 35 thousand TL compensation thread
During the period July-August-September 2019, 28 journalists faced trial on accusations of “defamation”, “insulting a public official” or “slander” with for a total of 72 years in prison request. While 3 of the cases were recent, one journalist was acquitted.
During the same period, four journalists and two media outlets were charged with a total of TL 2 million 35 thousand for non-pecuniary damages on charges of “attacking personal rights” “defamation”. On these compensation cases, the 225,000 TL portion about two journalists and a media organization was new. While the former columnist of the Cumhuriyet newspaper Çiğdem Toker is still struggling with the case of 1 million 500 thousand TL filed by a company affiliated with the Bayburt Group, Evrensel newspaper has also been advocating the right to communicate to the public before the courts via the case filed by former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Turkuaz Media Group official Serhat Albayrak and President’s son Bilal Erdoğan.
“Defamation to Erdogan”: 1 of every 5 suspect is captive and 1 of them is recently accused
In the last three months, a total of five journalists faced trial up to 18 years and 8 months in prison for their views and criticisms of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While the lawsuit against the former director of Evrensel newspaper Cem Şimşek was new, Barış Gün, former editor-in-chief of BirGün newspaper, was sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison for his defense because of his “acrostic defense”.
The article, which was widely used to combat criticism and allegations against Erdoğan in August 2014, when he was elected President, provided the basis for at least 60 journalists to be sentenced to imprisonment, adjournment and fine until 1 October 2019.
29 Months long censor on Wikipedia
In the last three months, access to the most 577 news articles published on the internet was blocked by the Magistrates’ Court. During this period, 7 social media accounts came in the way; a book is banned; 8 national newspapers and television organizations were discriminated against by accreditation.
During this period, among the most censored claims and news are, the building and land allocation to Medipol University; President Erdoğan’s son Burak Erdoğan’s being the reason of the death of artist Sevim Tanürek; The AK Party Istanbul deputy Ravza Kavakçı Kan was sent to the United States for political doctorate on the day of his employment in Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality; Presidency of Fahrettin Altun and his wife Fatmanur Altun receiving double salary; Necati Yener, the principal of Istanbul Cağaloğlu Anatolian High School, puting foreclosure on student’s scholarships.
3rd Ankara Magistrates’ Court blocked access to 136 addresses, including bianet, on 16 July. bianet appeared to have been included in the list as “out of place”, while other addresses were remained banned.
During the July – August – September period, the Constitutional Court (AYM) took a stand in favor of freedom of the press and expression on symbolic issues such as police violence against journalists during the Gezi protests, censorship of Hacı Lokman Birlik news on the BirGün website and Peace Academicians.
During the period in question, the Constitutional Court granted Halk TV an application for the ban on broadcasting on the corruption of four Ministers in the period of 17-25 December 2013. While observing Gezi protests, Evrensel newspaper reporter Erdal İmrek, who was subjected to police violence, also violated his right to press freedom. Constitutional court reported a total of 33 thousand 181 TL compensation will be paid to the applicants. However, the CC has waited for the file to be on the agenda of the European Court of Human Rights to take action for two and a half years of Wikipedia censorship.
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights, who remained silent in April-May-June 2019, broke the silence for the last three months for publisher Ahmet Önal and HDP former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
The Court awards a total of 6,680 € (a total of TL 42 thousand) to Önal and Demirtaş, including the costs and expenses; moved for Wikipedia the global online encyclopedia that censored two and a half years in Turkey as well. On the other hand, the ECtHR did not see any violation of the cases of Ali Gürbüz and Hasan Bayar, Özgür Gündem newspaper officials on the grounds that the contents were defending violence.
Struggle against impunity: Up to the case…
On 29 August, the suspects of the attack on Levent Uysal, the owner of Yenigün newspaper, which was just closed in Balıkesir, were arrested. However, those who were involved in the shooting of journalist Hakan Denizli from the foot in the eyes of his child and grandson in Adana, were released at the first hearings. The government did nothing for the physical violence against incorrigible journalists during the 31 March Local Elections and the renewed Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on 23 June.
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor regarding International media correspondents vouchers for Turkey, could say that”Turkey Extension of the International Media Council entitled” Political, Economic and Social Research Foundation (SETA) for the report “is within the scope of freedom of expression”.
Journalists Ugur Mumcu and Ahmet Taner Kislali’s including the murder in 90s, Hope Case, the bomber Oguz Demir and the Constitutional Court to re-trial the five defendants in two separate files continues. The trial of seven judges and prosecutors at the Supreme Court of Appeals for the arrest of investigative journalist Ahmet Şık in a conspiracy in March 2011 for his draft book “The Imam’s Army” is awaiting the determination of the Supreme Court Office to discuss the case. The journalist Deniz Yücel, who was detained and arrested in February 2017 when he was serving as Istanbul correspondent for Die Welt newspaper, was rejected.
Abdül Köksal, expelled police officer who faced trial for illegally listening to 70 people including journalist Haydar Meriç, who disappeared shortly after he announced that he would write a critical book on Fethullah Gulen and whose body was found on 18 June 2011 on the shores of Duzce Akcakoca, was released.
The defendants were sentenced to heavy imprisonment in the case, including the “Council of State” attack and the hand grenade attack on the Cumhuriyet newspaper Istanbul Center.
Radio and Television Supreme Council 19 fine 19 discontinuation
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed 9 fines and 5 discontinuations on TV for news, film and program broadcasts in July – August – September 2019 period, while radio organizations did not receive any action during this period. The council fined 1 million 180 thousand 146 TL in total.
31 journalist became unemployed in 3 months
In the period July-August-September 2019, from Demirören Group, Türk Media Group, Yeni Şafak, to Cumhuriyet and Artı Gerçek…the broadcasting organizations terminated its employment with 31 columnists, editorial staff or employees from many different editorial lines.
Separating its ways with Kemal Öztürk and Özlem Albayrak, whom they have not published before once, Yeni Şafak has decided to leave with two more writers, one of them Faruk Aksoy. Cumhuriyet newspaper dismissed 15 people including Diyarbakir Representative Mahmut Oral and reporter Ceren Ciplak Drillat on maternity leave, citing economic crisis. Hurriyet newspaper writer Erdal Saglam, known for his articles on the economy and bureaucracy in Ankara, left the newspaper. Artı Gerçek website separated their ways with journalist-writer Murat Aksoy ,critic of the Kurdish Issue.
In the same period last year, the figure was 85;157 for the whole of 2018.