Armenian-Turkish journalist, founder and chief editor of AGOS, Hrant Dink had been murdered 11 years ago, on January 19, 2007. There is an ongoing struggle to get the instigators to answer to justice. However, in the last 11 years, press freedom in Turkey has been suffering a systematic decline. Currently Turkey is still the country with most number of journalists in prison, numerous media organisations have been shut down, and thousands of journalists are disemployed, while even social media activities are considered within the framework of terror crimes.
“Justice for Hrant” initiative has been intertwined with calls for press freedom and free expression in Turkey over the past decade. Director İmre Azem has followed the commemoration for Hrant Dink on its 11th anniversary, and followed the traces of press freedom in Turkey for dokuz8NEWS.
AGOS Chief Editor, Yetvart Danzikyan
“Hrant Dink is definitely not the first journalist murdered. Uğur Mumcu, Çetin Emeç, Abdi İpekçi and such names have also been murdered. Hrant Dink’s case is different in following aspect; the other names I have just mentioned always make us consider that a faction within the state might be involved. When we look at the 11 years of this case and the hearings, we see that all factions of the state have been involved in Hrant Dink murder. For that reason, Hrant’s murder as an Armenian journalist, an Armenian intellectual says a lot about the dark pages of this country’s history. And regarding journalism… There are still journalists in prison, on trial. Some had to flee from the country.”
Journalist Tunca Öğreten
(Stayed in prison for 323 days, for writing news report on the leaked e-mails of Minister of Energy, Berat Albayrak. Öğreten still has 23 ongoing trials against him.)
“Previously they used to murder journalists to neutralise them. They made them unable to write. They used to scare others by killing journalists. Now the methods seem to have changed. In what I like to call the second generation now, they are imprisoning journalists and writers to get them unable to write news, declare their opinion.”
Academic, Yaman Akdeniz
“Journalists are laid off due to pressure. Especially accusations are being directed at journalists with reference to ‘membership to terror organisation’ or ‘propagating terrorism’. Or any article on the President might be considered as ‘insult to President’ and the writer gets detained, arrested, persecuted. When you write on social media, your Twitter account might be blocked. When you write on online news platforms such as Diken, your page can be blocked. Or when you write on Kurdish or critical news platforms, or on Sendika.org for example, your website might be blocked for 62 consecutive times. Social media users should also be added to this. One of the most significant aspects of this is the internet trolls who are threatening journalists, especially female journalists. There are threats of rape or death.
Over 120.000 websites blocked!
Law numbered 5651 which regulates publications online, has caused blocking access to more than 120.000 websites; over 100.000 news and social media accounts are also blocked. [Source: Yaman Akdeniz]
Investigation started into 1.138 social media accounts in a week
Ministry of Interior announced that on the third week of January between 11-22 January, an investigation has been run covering 1.138 social media accounts and 364 people have been subjected to legal processes.
122 journalists have welcomed new year in prison
Independent Communications Network Media Monitor 2018 report stated that 122 journalists have welcomed the new year in prison. The report also states that under the State of Emergency Rule, nearly 200 media organisations have been shut down with emergency decrees.
There are still thousands of journalists trying to operate under severe conditions despite censorship, pressure and threats.
Production+editing: İmre Azem / dokuz8NEWS