While they were waiting for their press cards to be renewed, workers of daily Evrensel have learned that their cards have been revoked. The Commission on Press Cards has recently been affiliated with the Presidency Directorate of Communications.
Since the Commission on Press Cards was affiliated with the Presidency Directorate of Communications, the workers of daily Evrensel had been waiting for the renewal of their press cards in line with their applications.
While the status of their applications was “pending” for a long time till now, Evrensel workers have learned that their press cards have been revoked.
Among the ones whose press cards have been revoked are also Sultan Özer, who is entitled to have a permanent press card and previously worked for the Commission on Press Cards on behalf of the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS), Fevzi Argun, who also has a permanent press card, and Fatih Polat, the Editor-in-Chief of Evrensel.
As reported by Evrensel itself, the press card of TGS Chair and Vice News Director Gökhan Durmuş has also been revoked without any reason.
The other Evrensel journalists who press cards have been revoked are as follows: Chief Editor Şengül Karadağ Bayhan, previous Managing Director and current news editor Vural Nasuhbeyoğlu, former reporter and current Managing Editor Görkem Kınacı, Page Editor İskender Bayhan, Copy Editor Şükrü Taş, Photojournalist Sevil Atar, reporters Şerif Karataş, Derya Dursun, Ercüment Akdeniz, Elif Ekin Saltık, Elif Görgü, Emine Uyar, Mehmet Özer, Özer Akdemir and columnist Erol Aral.
The exact number yet unknown
The journalists who entered the “Press Card Inquiry” system of the Presidency Directorate of Communications saw the expression “revoked” on the system. They called the Press Support Line of the Directorate the other day. However, their calls have not been responded and they cannot learn the reason why their press cards have been revoked.
While the press cards of several other journalists waiting for the renewal of their cards have been reportedly revoked, the exact number is unknown.
Press Cards of 3,804 Journalists Canceled in Five Years
In late October 2019, Vice President Fuat Oktay responded to a Parliamentary question by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Fethi Gürer.
In his answer to the MP, Oktay announced that press cards of 3,804 journalists have been canceled upon Article 29 of the Regulation on Press Cards over the last five years. 863 cards were canceled in 2015, 927 in 2016, 590 in 2017, 709 in 2018 and 715 in the first nine months of 2019, according to Oktay’s statement.
12,735 journalists had a press card as of October 3, Oktay informed. This number was 15,485 in November 2018, Oktay announced at the time.
What happens when they don’t have press cards?
When journalists do not have press cards, it means a very problematic situation for them. To name a few, it becomes harder for them to enter the Parliament without a press card. While there is a condition of “having a yellow press card” to follow several court hearings, having a press card makes it easier for journalists to report on street demonstrations.
Moreover, the right of wearing out also depends on the condition of “having a yellow press card”. Until the year 2018, journalists were entitled to take 90 days off within 360 days. However, with the law no. 5510 that entered into effect on October 1, 2008, they were deprived of this right.
On February 1, 2013, with an amendment introduced to the Article 40 of the law no. 5510, their right of wearing out was restored. However, this time, some other legal regulations were enforced.
With these new legal regulations, the condition of “having a press card” has been stipulated for the use of this right. In other words, the right of wearing out of journalists now also depends on having a yellow press card. (TP/SD)