Turkey: ECPMF highly concerned about arrests of Mezopotamya Agency reporters

The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) as part of the Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) is highly concerned over the detention and arrest of four reporters in the southeast of Turkey, on 17 December 2020. We call for their immediate and unconditional release. We condemn the continued persecution against the outlet as this is the third incident to take place in as many months.

 

According to news reports, journalists for the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) Zeynep Durgut and Azad Kaya and Jinnews reporters Rojda Aydın and Derya Ren were taken into custody while entering the Cizre district, after reporting from Şırnak city. Durgut was arrested. She is said to be facing an arrest warrant in relation to the investigation launched by the Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the case of Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut. Police released the other three journalists after insulting them.

 

In October, four journalists were arrested following a raid on the MA offices, also in response to their reporting on Şiban and Turgut, which centres on credible allegations that Turkish soldiers tortured them and threw them out of a helicopter. Journalists Adnan Bilen, Cemil Uğur, Şehriban Abi and Nazan Sala remain in detention today. The Media Law and Studies Association (MLSA) visited Bilen and Uğur in prison after reports that COVID-19 measures were not followed in the facility. However, on 20 November the Turkish Constitutional Court decided to deny Bilen and Uğur’s petition for conditional release, saying there is effective access to healthcare in the prison and that the conditions of detention pose no risk to their safety.

 

At the end of November, MA reporter Dindar Karataş was arrested on charges of membership of a terrorist organisation in a raid at his home in the city of Van. Police also confiscated his camera and phone. MA reporter Hakan Yalçın was taken into custody in Ankara and released after interrogation.

 

ECPMF is highly concerned about the sustained attacks on Mezopotamya Agency and its reporters and collaborators. The arrest and detention of media workers for their reporting on public interest matters violates their rights to liberty and freedom of expression and the general public’s right to information. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Zeynep Durgut, Azad Kaya, Rojda Aydın and Derya Ren, and all their detained colleagues.

Read news by categories:

Related news

Statement

Albania: Media pluralism and transparency concerns fuel deterioration in media freedom

Following a two-day fact-finding mission to Tirana on 17-18 November 2022, the partners of the Council of Europe’s Platform on Safety of Journalists today publish their findings on press freedom, media pluralism and the safety of journalists in Albania.

READ MORE
Statement

Italy: a call of support for Roberto Saviano, defendant in a defamation trial

Members of the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), with the support of the coalition’s Italian group and Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR), express solidarity with Roberto Saviano who attended the first hearing in the proceedings for aggravated defamation initiated against him by current Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

READ MORE
Statement

Bulgarian far-right party’s ‘foreign agent’ bill sparks media freedom concerns

Press freedom groups raise alarm that Bulgarian Foreign Agent law appears intended to target critical media.

READ MORE
Feature

Italy: Concern about prosecutor’s demand for prison sentence for three journalists in response to their factual reporting

The undersigned media freedom and journalist associations today express shared concern over an Italian prosecutor’s request for a six-month prison sentence in a case of defamation through the press involving three journalists.

READ MORE
Feature

Netherlands: Press freedom groups concerned about video with hostile rhetoric by Dutch politician against reporter

The Media Freedom Rapid Response (MFRR) and its partners express today their concerns about hostile rhetoric used against independent journalists by Dutch political party Forum for Democracy (FvD). Such problematic language creates an intimidating climate for public interest journalism, normalises both online and physical targeting of the press, and can lead to self-censorship amongst the journalistic community. We urge the FvD to put an end to its dangerous smear campaign against independent media.

READ MORE
Statement

Greece: SLAPP award winner Grigoris Dimitriadis urged to drop defamation lawsuits

The undersigned international media freedom and journalists organisations wrote to Grigoris Dimitriadis to express our shared concern about defamation claims filed against investigative journalists and media outlets following your resignation from the role of general secretary in the office of the Greek Prime Minister in August 2022.

READ MORE