International groups demand the release of Kurdish journalists, lawyers, and political party officials arrested in Turkey in a pre-election crackdown.
Media freedom, freedom of expression, and human rights organisations called on Turkish authorities to stop the systematic harassment and intimidation of Kurdish journalists, media workers, media outlets, the lawyers that defend them, and Kurdish political party officials, give them access to legal counsel, disclose full details of charges brought and to ensure that they are released from detention.
In a statement, the international organizations said: “We reiterate the need for a free and pluralistic media atmosphere in the run up to the elections that will be held on 14 May 2023.
Turkey has a long history of bringing criminal charges, including for terrorism offences, against independent journalists solely because of their journalistic work. The Mapping Media Freedom database records 27 alerts impacting 91 Kurdish journalists, media workers or outlets over the last 12 months. The alerts primarily consist of legal incidents usually leading to arrest, detention, imprisonment, prosecution and convictions.”
The organizations called “on the authorities to immediately give the detained journalists, lawyers and political activists access to legal counsel and to disclose full details of any charges brought. Absent any credible evidence of wrongdoing, they should be released immediately from detention.”
The statement is signed by the following organizations:
Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ)
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
European Federation of Journalists (EFJ)
Foreign Media Association (FMA Turkey)
Human Rights Watch
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
International Press Institute (IPI)
Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA)
Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT)
Platform for Independent Journalism (P24)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
San Miguel PEN
South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)