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Media allowed to use Kurdish language but still forbidden to discuss Kurdish issues freely

first_imgNews to go further Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law Help by sharing this information TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Follow the news on Turkey November 20, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Media allowed to use Kurdish language but still forbidden to discuss Kurdish issues freely Organisation Reporters Without Borders hails the lifting of the last restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language by the Turkish news media. “This is an important and symbolically-charged step but its impact will be very limited as long as the media cannot tackle Kurdish issues without risking prosecution,” the press freedom organisation said.The government gazette published a directive on 13 November indefinitely lifting all remaining restrictions on the broadcast media’s use of minority languages. Use of Kurdish had been allowed in the print media and the national public TV station TRT 6 since January 2004, but privately-owned radio stations were limited to five hours of Kurdish programming a week while privately-owned TV stations were limited to four hours.Furthermore, all Kurdish-language TV programmes had to be subtitled in Turkish, which made live broadcasts impossible. As a result, only TV stations offered any Kurdish programmes, the local station Gün TV and, in the past two months, the satellite TV station Su TV.“What is the point of broadcasting in Kurdish if coverage of Kurdish issues from an independent or activist viewpoint is banned in practice,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The lifting of language restrictions must not be allowed to eclipse the fact that the media are still the victims of intimidation and self-censorship when they try to tackle sensitive issues.”The press freedom organisation added: “There will be no real progress for free expression in Turkey until the repressive legislation has been repealed and the media are finally allowed to tackle the subjects that the Turkish state has declared off limits.”More than 15 journalists are currently being prosecuted under Anti-Terrorist Law No. 3713 and criminal code article 216 (on inciting hatred) just for referring to the demands of the outlawed Kongra-Gel, also known as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), or for quoting its leaders, even in an article that criticises them.The Turkish legislative arsenal – including criminal code article 301, under which “insults to the Turkish nation” are punishable by up to two years in prison – imposes considerable restrictions on democratic debate by defining the limits that cannot be crossed as regards such subjects as the armed forces, police, judicial system, torture, secularism and the republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. And in practice this legislative arsenal allows many local judges and prosecutors to resist the government’s declared policy of making Turkish society more open.Around 20 charges of “PKK propaganda,” condoning criminal activity and membership of an illegal organisation have been brought against Vedat Kursun, the editor of the only Kurdish-language newspaper, Azadiya Welat. Although he has been detained since January, the first hearing in his trial was not held until 10 September. And he will continue to be detained until the next hearing, which has been set for 2 December.His lawyer, Servet Özen, told Reporters Without Borders, “he is in prison for comments that his newspaper was the first to make, but which are now being debated in all the Turkish media.”Pro-Kurdish publications are even silenced online. Access to the website of the daily newspaper Günlük was blocked on 18 November. Günlük itself, like the weekly Özgür Ortam, has repeatedly been closed temporarily under the Anti-Terrorist Law, while Günlük’s owner, its editor and one of its journalists are all currently facing possible sentences of 7 years in prison.The newspaper Demokratik Açilim was closed in September, just a few weeks after it had been launched to replace Günlük, which was itself closed at the time. On 20 October, the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Turkish government to pay several hundred thousand euros in damages to 26 journalists working for four other pro-Kurdish newspapers that had been closed – Ülkede Özgür Gündem, Gündem, Güncel and Gerçek Demokrasi.Even media that show little sign of sympathising with Kurdish autonomy demands are exposed to repression. Hasan Cakkalkurt, the editor of the “Kemalist” daily Milliyet, and one of his journalists, Namik Durukan, are facing possible 7-year jail sentences and fines of 9,000 euros for reprinting a local news agency interview with a PKK leader. The next hearing in their trial is set for 26 January.Hülya Avsar, a famous singer, and Milliyet journalist Devrim Sevimay are being prosecuted on charges of inciting hatred because Avsar, who has Turkish and Kurdish parents, said in an interview that the government’s policy of openness should not “under-estimate or ignore the rights of the Kurds” and that it would be “hard to convince the terrorists of the separatist PKK to lay down their arms.”Aside from Kurdish issues, it is still very difficult for Turkish journalists to criticise the behaviour of the judicial system, armed forces or police. Haci Bogatekin, the editor of the fortnightly Gerger Firat, was sentenced in absentia by a local court on 18 November to 26 months and seven days in prison under criminal code article 125 for allegedly libelling the former prosecutor and police chief of the southeastern district of Gerger by accusing them of harassing his newspaper and colluding with Islamists.Worn out by a legal battle that has dragged on for more than a year, Bogatekin did not attend the final hearing for health reasons. He wrote a letter of apology to the court, but the court ignored it on the grounds that it was not sent by recorded delivery. (Logo picture : ANF) RSF_en center_img Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit TurkeyEurope – Central Asia News Receive email alerts News April 2, 2021 Find out more April 28, 2021 Find out more News April 2, 2021 Find out more Read our previous press releases :- Basic questions still unanswered during Dink trial’s 11th hearing- Government urged to include press freedom in its opening to Kurdish minorityRead June 2008 “Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison”last_img read more

Hamadi Jebali has been rushed to hospital

first_img Tunisia : RSF asks Tunisian president’s office to respect journalists Eleven organizations from civil society create the Forum on Information & Democracy, a structural response to information disorder Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” News Hamadi Jebali, editor of the weekly Al Fajr, on a hunger strike since 13 January, was rushed to Habib Bougafta hospital in Bizerte on 12 February.’If the authorities continue to show their indifference to the legitimate claims of this journalist they will bear full responsibility for what could happen to him. We repeat our demand to president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali for the immediate and unconditional release of Hamadi Jebali’, said Robert Ménard, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders.On 12 February Hamadi Jebali, one month into a hunger strike, was transferred from Nador prison to Habib Bougafta hospital in Bizerte (north of the country). A member of the International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners (AISPP) went to the hospital on 13 February but was unable to see the journalist. Hamadi Jebali’s wife, who visits him each Saturday, told Reporters Without Borders she was very worried and didn’t even know if she could see her husband on 15 February. ‘Since he has been imprisoned, Hamadi has staged several hunger strikes, but it’s the first time he’s making one last so long’, she added. Hamadi Jebali, editor of the weekly Al Fajr, the organ of the Islamic movement An Nahda, has been jailed since 1991 in an individual cell. A member of Reporters Without Borders who had asked to visit him at Nador prison met with a refusal on 6 February from the prisons general directorate. The journalist’s barrister, Mohamed Nouri, was also turned down. Wahida Jebali told the organisation she hadn’t been allowed to see her husband ‘directly’ (without wire netting between them) for the first time until 25 January 2003. Madame Jebali also explained that her husband had been subjected to pressure by members of the State Security police to stop his hunger strike. Following the constant presence of police in front of her house, Wahida Jebali was obliged to go and live with her youngest daughter at her sister-in-law’s in Sousse. The journalist’s wife and daughters have today been stripped of their passport. Hamadi Jebali has been on a hunger strike since 13 January to protest against his detention conditions and demand his release. In 1992, he had been sentenced by Tunis Military Court to sixteen years imprisonment for ‘belonging to an illegal organisation’. He had just finished serving a one-year prison term for publishing an article criticising the country’s military courts system. Hamadi Jebali, editor of the weekly Al Fajr, on a hunger strike since 13 January, was rushed to the hospital on 12 February. Reporters Without Borders demand once more to president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali for the immediate and unconditional release of Hamadi Jebali. News Follow the news on Tunisia February 14, 2003 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Hamadi Jebali has been rushed to hospital TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa News TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information Receive email alerts to go further November 11, 2020 Find out more RSF_en December 26, 2019 Find out more News Organisation November 12, 2019 Find out morelast_img read more

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