Yüksel Durgut, Editor-in-Chief of the Journalist Post Magazine published by the International Journalists Association, wrote about his colleague Mehmet Baransu, who has been held in a cell for 7 years due to journalism. Giving examples of Baransu’s news that resonated around the world, Durgut analyzed how journalism and journalists such as Mehmet Baransu are respected in democratic countries. Journalist Durgut also touched upon the new issue of the Journalist Post, which will be published on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, and said: ‘we are trying to revive journalism from dead sleep’. Here is Yüksel Durgut’s article published on Tr724…
The bill for not getting things right in authoritarian regimes is always paid by the journalists. This is not limited to arrested journalists in Turkey, but journalists are always held responsible from Haiti to Vietnam, Mexico, and China, all over the world.
There is splendid a journalist in the Silivri prison who shakes the seats of those on top, he is a news nut who would be a person of distinction if he were in a democratic country. Mehmet Baransu is one of the remarkable figures among journalists under pressure in the world considering his 7-year detention, finalized prison sentences, case files in which he is on trial for life. The order of Efkan Ala, the then Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry, “Break down the door of his house and take Baransu” is a proof of how he is the number one enemy of the government.
There are many news stories that make Baransu a target of Erdogan. In 2011, 34 civilians were killed in Uludere in the shelling of F-16 fighter jets belonging to the Turkish army is one of many. The news titled “23 thousand tons of genetically modified rice introduced into Turkey” is the one why he was sentenced 19 years and 6 months. The news story titled “Those four privates died like this: Pin pulled bomb handed” went down in the history of the world media. Particularly in 2009, when this news was published, it collected the most prestigious journalism awards in Turkey. Baransu’s this piece is among the top 47 news stories published by Columbia University that have made their mark in history.
Ronald L. Haeberle, a war photographer who worked in the US army. revealed the horror of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1969. Daniel Ellsberg, an American economist, political activist and former US military analyst, leaked documents revealing that United States covered up the betrayals committed in Vietnam.
Mordechai Vanunu, also known as an Israeli scientist John Crossman, revealed details of Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986, suggesting that he was against weapons of mass destruction. Israel has imprisoned Vanunu by kidnapping him.
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning was a former American army soldier. During her service, she was tried in a military court for espionage and sent to prison for handing over more than 750 thousand classified military documents to WikiLeaks.
Now we are learning from social media that Vladimir Putin leaked unreal information to his country during his time as a KGB agent. Vasily Nikitich Mitrokhin, a senior KGB spy, handed over notes made up of Kremlin secrets to the British Embassy in Riga in 1992 and took refuge in the UK. There have been people who have shared important information with the world at all times, such as Edward Joseph Snowden, who announced that the US government was illegally eavesdropping on his own citizens. He is living in exile in Mexico since 2013.
But what if journalism doesn’t exist, would the truth come out sooner or later? Of course, but until then, a lot of people would have been hurt and the law would have been broken. For example, the more s side is trying to uncover the facts of the Ukrainian crisis, the more the other side is trying to cover it up. But at the end of the day, the world is definitely learning more one way or another than what the media wants us not to know. That’s why the facts and those pens are always trying to be silenced.
A strange war is taking place in the besieged capital of occupied Ukraine, every moment of it is shared to the world as long as people can charge their cellphones. According to an Israeli analyst, the Russians allow phones to work in order to be able to eavesdrop. It’s weird, but true. Similar to the in-service mobile phone lines so that the public being called out to the street until the morning of a military coup that was carried out absurdly on the night of July 15, 2016.
As a journalist, I have always admired the honesty and hard work of Western journalists. During my time in South Asia, I have observed that the BBC is much ahead of local news networks in terms of reliability and speed, especially in this region. For example, the assassination of Benazir Butto and Indira Gandhi was first announced on the BBC, and then reported by national media outlets.
I remember that William Mark Tully, who served as the BBC’s representative in India for 20 years, and the Indian journalist Satish Jacob, who wrote a book together, wrote that the people of the region respect Western journalists more for being honest when describing the injustices of the caste system.
The news that Sully sent for 20 years from New Delhi was published in many languages such as Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, and Sinhalese. He reached to the reader even in the most remote corners of the world. He is an expert for me in the field of journalism. Tully was known even in the small villages of India.
Mark Tully is now 86 years old, but if he has an heir, it is Mehmet Baransu, who is in Silivri Prison at the age of 45. Not everyone can be like Robert Fisk, who criticized the US foreign policy in the Middle East and the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians and received praise for his symbolic stance, was condemned by some and died in 2020.
If people who adore their profession for example a powerful critic of America, Australia and British foreign policy John Pilgerthe and made to the international agenda with their reports prepared by Cambodia genocide or Mehmet Baransu who succeed the news that I only mentioned a small part, weren’t there we would have to burry terminally ill journalism to the ground along with Robert Fisk and cry after.
We are trying to revive this sleeping to death profession, with the Journalist Post, the world’s first and only multilingual international magazine. 20 Journalists from 20 countries came together for the new issue to be published on May 3rd World Press Freedom Day. Despite the pressure of authoritarian regimes, these journalists didn’t not compromise on the principles of ‘Journalism against all odds’ so that only journalists such as Fisk, Baransu, Tully, Pilger, Haeberle, Elsberg can catch up again so that press can be free.