The cover story features a name that every journalist in the world should know. We introduce you to a journalist imprisoned by the Erdoğan regime in Turkey, who has been behind bars for 3168 days. Mehmet Baransu, one of Turkey’s most valuable journalists, is the hero of the cover story that his family and our editorial team have been working on for months.
In the latest issue of Journalist Post, you will find out why the Dreyfus case, which divided France at the beginning of the 20th century, and the case of journalist Mehmet Baransu are so similar, and how the loyalty and support of the world-famous writer Émile Zola for Alfred Dreyfus, who was living defenceless within four walls, changed Dreyfus’ life.
The journalist Mehmet Baransu is currently experiencing one of the most unprecedented cases in world history. Imprisoned on charges of “espionage and revealing state secrets”, Baransu is unfortunately not as lucky as Officer Dreyfus. Turkey has no Émile Zola to proclaim his innocence. Baransu, whose reports have become the news of the century, who has received awards, who stands upright in the face of power, who does not give up, should be honoured, but more than 140 complaints have been filed against him and more than a thousand years in prison have been demanded.
Famous journalist and writer Yavuz Baydar, who lived in exile in Europe after the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, stressed that a journalist’s freedom cannot be restricted even for a single day because he obtained and published confidential documents, saying: “It is important to give the news, not to withhold it. There is no democracy without independent and free media.
Dmitri Muratov, a journalist whose stance against press freedom and dictatorial regimes is exemplary, is also featured in this latest issue of our magazine. Muratov is one of the last representatives of independent journalism in Russia, known for his investigations into the government’s bad policies. Muratov, the founder and editor-in-chief of the closed Novaya Gazeta, is a Nobel Prize-winning journalist. Under Muratov’s leadership, the newspaper published many investigative reports on human rights abuses, corruption, election fraud and police brutality, despite increasing pressure on the media from Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Six Novaya Gazeta journalists have been killed in attacks.
Another award-winning journalist, Óscar Martinez, said that “journalism is needed more in dark times”. The El Salvadoran journalist stressed that journalism deserves all solidarity and support. “Don’t abandon us because we will continue to report the news. Don’t abandon us because the powerful are after us. Silence is not an option, whatever the outcome”.
One of the biggest victims of the war that broke out in the Middle East on 7 October is the profession of journalism. Palestinian journalist Walid Batrawi wrote about how Palestinian journalists are caught in the crossfire: “It is almost impossible for a journalist from the West Bank to go to Gaza or return from Gaza. Very few West Bank journalists can go to Jerusalem. To enter Jerusalem, men have to be over 55 and women over 50”.
Afghan journalist Zahra Joya was one of 12 women selected by Time magazine as its 2022 Woman of the Year. She was also named one of the BBC’s 100 most influential women. Joya, a well-known journalist and activist, says she is not safe anywhere in the world. The Afghan journalist noted that it is now very difficult for the new generation of journalists in her country, and that it has become impossible for women. The exiled journalist fears for her own safety: “Nowhere in the world is it safe for an Afghan journalist”.
Fathi Osman, an Eritrean journalist and former diplomat living in exile in France since 2012, said: “Press freedom in Africa must be fought for, even if it seems difficult and fruitless.
The progress made by journalists in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria is inspiring and exemplary”.Kenyan journalist Catherine Gicheru, ICFJ Knight Fellow and Director of the African Women’s Journalism Project, said women journalists in Africa are pillars of resilience, uncovering stories, raising their voices and shining a light on issues that have been pushed into the shadows.
Prof. Dr. Frank Überall, president of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), one of the world’s largest associations of journalists, argues in an article that if you make a statement critical of Turkish President Erdoğan, you could be handcuffed at the airport. He advises against travelling to Turkey, saying that even a simple ‘like’ on social networks can ruin your holiday.
“Some people have freedom without a homeland, and some people have a homeland without freedom. I hope that sooner or later freedom of expression will be established in my country”. Ekaterina Glikman, a Russian journalist, declares her struggle with her profession as a journalist: “We will never give up.”
Russia is using Ukrainian media, especially journalists, as a tool of black propaganda with fake news. Two Ukrainian journalists, Oksana Chykanchy and Iryna Synelnyk, say they will fight hard for the truth. Xhemajl Rexha, chairman of the board of the Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), writes in this issue of our magazine that the media are under attack from governments and interest groups, and that the Balkan media are resisting.
Journalist and political analyst Yavuz Acar, who moderated the question “How free is the press in the Arab world?”, said that journalists are subjected to arrest and torture, citing the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, well known to the world media, in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 as the most painful example.
Our editor Salomé Saldarriaga J. says that press freedom is not the only problem in Colombia, but that ethical values are also being ignored. In an interview with journalist Felipe Abondano, Saldarriaga takes the pulse of the country.
Dr Mia Swart of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, says her country cannot be described as a haven for journalists and argues that journalists who expose corruption are threatened, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Young journalist Lou Phily looks at journalists’ strikes in French media history and goes behind the scenes of the 40-day strike by JDD media workers in protest at the appointment of a new editor-in-chief. Thora Meißner, a journalist from Germany, illustrates the decline of press freedom in her country and the lack of investigation in many cases.
Dr. Kezban Karagöz, an Amnesty volunteer in the Netherlands, refers to a report commissioned by the International Journalists Association (IJA) and says: “Unfortunately, opposition journalists in exile are not successful enough in building a common resistance and solidarity network.” She also stresses that she hopes the report prepared on behalf of the IJA will be a start for solidarity.
Journalist Post meets its readers on “2 November, the day against crimes against journalists”. You will read how journalists resist despite all kinds of pressure.
“We want justice. We are talking about the sword that could be our master tomorrow! Bigotedly kiss the hilt of this sword? Never!” Like Émile Zola, who cried out bravely, the places in the world where courage is represented are dungeons like the one Mehmet Baransu is in. Baransu has been paying the price for his courage in solitary confinement for 8.5 years and says the following: “I wish I wasn’t so brave. I can’t expect anyone to have the courage I have. But when I look at the state of my country, I am sorry to pay this price. It is not worth it for these people.