Journalists speak up for colleagues in Turkey

Jane Whyatt

Europe's journalists are uniting to support colleagues under threat and in jail in Turkey. Amongst others, the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), representing 320.000 people, the Committee to Protect Journalists(CPJ) and Reporters without Borders (RSF) are challenging the EU to "stop the double standards" with a debate in Brussels, open to all.

Politicians at the European level will face tough criticism from the EFJ/RSF/ CPJ international debate online on Monday 15th December from 1300 local time.


It follows the latest abuses of press freedom in Turkey, a candidate for EU accession and a key player in the Syrian conflict and refugee crisis.


Two senior editors Can Dündar and Erden Gül from daily newspaper Cumhuriyet have been jailed for reporting of arms deliveries by the Turkish intelligence services to Islamist groups in Syria.


And a Danish freelancer, Nagieb Khaja, has reported that he was beaten by Turkish border guards as he tried to enter Syria. After he posted a shocking selfie on Twitter, Mogens Blicher Bjerregård, the EFJ President said, "We have witnessed Turkey’s disregard for the fundamental rights of journalists, whether local or foreign. Khaja is clearly targeted because he is doing his job as journalist."

Nagieb Khaja Selfie Picture by Nagieb Khaja: shocking selfie posted on Twitter

According to Bianet, an independent news agency that is part of our ECPMF partner organisation OBC's media network, thirty journalists, including the Cumhuriyet editors, will start 2016 in jail in Turkey.


One of them is Mohammed Ismael Rasool of Vice News, who was arrested with two British colleagues who were freed after several days. Rasool, an Iraqi Kurd, was working as the translator and fixer on the Vice News crew. His colleague Jake Hanrahan has started a petition to get him freed and answered viewers' questions in a live show dedicated to Rasool.

He has the support too of British Members of Parliament who brought a resolution to the House of Commons, urging the Turkish government to release him.

Jane Whyatt is the Project Manager, responsible for commissioning, creating and curating web content, setting up fact-finding missions to respond to media freedom violations, organising conferences and co-ordinating relationships with the Consortium Partners and the EU.