Sarajevo June 23, 2016
The Press Council in BiH, the Association of BH Journalists, the Journalism Help Line and the Media Center - Sarajevo, condemn the imprisonment of two journalists and a human rights activist in Turkey.
Erol Onderoglu, Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci were arrested and accused of spreading terrorist propaganda, and held in prison prior to the commencement of the trial, only because they showed solidarity in the campaign against the governments attempt to censor newspapers dedicated to the Kurd issue.
Our protest does not only refer to the deeply uncivilized practice of arresting journalists and human rights activists, but we are emphasizing that they are being persecuted for their solidarity with their colleagues. Media solidarity is an immanent for journalism as a profession and an important principle, just like the protection sources, verifying facts, critical examination of government or the necessity for using all sources within one news story.
The unreasonable and undemocratic practice of arrests is actually a continuation of a long series of government pressure on the freedom of expression in Turkey, where the government, under control of President Recep Tayyaip Erdogan’s Party for Justice and Development (AKP), is aggressively using the criminal code and the legal framework for anti-terrorism and defamation, in order to diminish the critical stance of the media towards the acts of public authority, and especially to limit media freedom and the rights of journalists.
Close to 40 journalists are currently imprisoned in Turkey. Other forms of pressure include mass firing of journalists, police raids on media premises and mass violence against certain media houses. According to information from the media organization Platform 24, as much as “90 percent of the media sector is under direct or indirect editorial control of the AKP government, including even the public broadcasting service TRT”, while only three TV channels and no more than five smaller newspapers are not controlled by the ruling party and dare to write critically about the acts of the current government in Turkey.
Media organizations from Bosnia and Herzegovina express full solidarity with the arrested colleagues Erol Onderoglu, Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci and seek their urgent release from prison.
This protest is directly addressed to the Government of the Republic of Turkey, through the Turkish Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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