In the month preceding World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd, human rights and freedom of expression organisations everywhere call upon journalists and cartoonists to support their colleagues in Turkey as part of the #FreeTurkeyMedia campaign.
The intiative is being led by Amnesty International, saying:
Journalists and media organisations are being asked to join Amnesty International’s call to secure the release of more than 120 journalists in Turkish jails.
Turkey has earned an accolade which holds no glory: according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, it is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. Globally, one third of all imprisoned journalists, media workers and executives are in Turkey’s prisons, with the vast majority among them waiting to be brought to trial.
More than 160 newspapers and TV stations have been closed with the loss of thousands of jobs in a crackdown on freedom of expression following last summer’s coup attempt and the declaration of a state of emergency.
Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said:
“The detention of so many journalists, often for many months without trial, is completely unjustified and seems intended to create a climate of fear in which people censor their thoughts.
“This, combined with the closure of so many media outlets, is happening at a critical time in Turkey’s history, when a referendum will decide whether to change the country’s constitution and create an executive presidency.
“Given such events, the irony is that right now Turkey needs a free press more than ever before.”
Amnesty is asking journalists around the world to join a Twitter action for the release of Turkish media workers – similar to the campaign fought on behalf of the three Al Jazeera reporters detained for nearly two years in Egypt.
Online appeals to the Turkey’s Justice Minister, Bekir Bozdağ can be made here.
Amnesty will also be asking editors and publishers to run editorials and full-page ads highlighting the plight of the detained Turkish journalists on World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.
Please follow the Free Turkey Media campaign on social media:
— FreeTurkeyMedia (@FreeTurkeyMedia) April 3, 2017
Journalists are encouraged to post selfies, cartoonists to draw cartoons on the topic of press freedom in Turkey. Use the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia in English or #GazetecilikSuçDeğildir in Turkish.
CRNI’s friends will be unsurprised to hear that our primary concern over this period is the cartoonist Musa Kart, in prison now for over 150 days.
NB – bear in mind that this is intended to be a positive campaign in solidarity with colleagues who are suffering. Invective that could potentially be (mis)used by prosecutors to make life harder for those already in a vulnerable position will not be endorsed by the campaign.