10480366064_283021f807_kOver 70 organizations, including the Association of European Journalists (AEJ), Article 19, PE International, European Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Global Editors Network, ad Human Rights Watch (HRW), delivered a joint statement on the deteriorating media climate in Turkey at the 34th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. They called on the international community to press Turkey to end its emergency law limits on free speech before the referendum on sweeping changes to the Turkish constitution on 16 April.
In their statement, the organizations point out that over 180 news outlets have been shut down since the introduction of a state of emergency following the failed coup in July last year. In addition, there are now at least 148 writers, journalists, and media workers in prison, which makes Turkey “the biggest jailer of journalists in the world”.
“Restrictions have reached new heights in the lead up to a crucial referendum on constitutional reforms, which would significantly increase executive powers, set for 16 April 2017,” says the joint statement. “The Turkish authorities’ campaign has been marred by threats, arrests and prosecutions of those who have voiced criticism of the proposed amendments. Several members of the opposition have been arrested on terror charges. Thousands of public employees, including hundreds of academics and opponents to the constitutional reforms, were dismissed in February. Outspoken “No” campaigners have been detained, adding to the overall climate of suspicion and fear. The rights to freedom of expression and information, essential to fair and free elections, are in jeopardy.”
The organizations who have signed the joint statement insist that today “the need for media pluralism is more important than ever” and that the Turkish citizens “to be provided with comprehensive information on all views, including dissenting voices, in sufficient time”.
You can read the full statement here.
Picture: Flickr